MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Several people are behind bars and police are looking to get 15 more gang members off Memphis streets after an extensive drug bust.
Memphis Police Department and Shelby County District Attorney's Office held a press conference focusing on the results of an extensive drug investigation, which includes indictments and seizures of contraband.
In April 2017, MPD noticed a large number of fentanyl and heroin overdoses near the Memphis Medical District
Officers conducted a nine-month investigation to identify the individuals involved in distributing cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl.
After identifying several people involved, investigators were able to purchase heroin from several of those suspects.
On Tuesday, Dec. 12, a Shelby County Grand Jury indicted 25 people involved in the operation. These 25 individuals were all charged with conspiring to sell and distribute heroin.
Several of these individuals are affiliated with the street gang known as "Dixie Homes Murda Squad."
On Friday, Dec. 15, MPD conducted a roundup to arrest the 25 suspects. Investigators made 10 indictment arrests and two non-related probable cause arrests.
The 10 arrested are listed below:
Investigators recovered approximately two-and-a-half kilograms of heroin, two ounces of powder cocaine, and approximately one ounce of marijuana from various locations throughout the city and county.
Investigators are still searching for the remaining 15 suspects. Those suspects are listed below:
Investigators also recovered five firearms and seized approximately 11 vehicles used and purchased with the suspected drug money.
Throughout the investigation, investigators seized approximately $200,000 in cash from several individuals in the group.
"We're pretty confident that lives were saved," said MPD Director Mike Rallings. "And more lives can be saved if more people in our community would step up and do the right thing."
The Dixie Homes Murda Squad is a neighborhood group that started in the old Dixie Homes housing project several years ago. Several individuals indicted were long-term members of the group. Fifteen of the individuals indicted were documented Dixie Home Murda Squad members.
Since January 1, MPD has investigated 593 total heroin-related overdoses in Memphis. Ninety-seven of these heroin overdoses involved a death.
Many of the overdoses happened in an area known as the "The Dixie Homes Murda Squad" territory.
It's a spot Bill Nelson, a recovering addict, knows well.
"In that area, you can go at any given day you can go down in that area and you can see drug dealers standing on the streets," Nelson said.
He's now clean after using drugs for years and buying those drugs in that area.
"I had eyesight back then," Nelson said. "This is one of the reasons that I'm blind, because I didn't take care of myself. And the reason I didn't take care of myself I was on drugs."
Nelson said his drug of choice was crack. He said his dealers were often members of the "The Dixie Homes Murda Squad" gang.
Nelson applauds the work of law enforcement arresting these 25 men but said their arrest may barely make a dent in the war on drugs.
He said the kilos of drugs now off the streets will be replaced and new dealers recruited.
"As long as you got the demand you're going to have the supply," Nelson said. "OK? This is just the... not even the tip of the iceberg."