Eight people have been arrested and more than $100,000 worth of drugs seized in raids on five houses in northeast Baltimore, breaking up a major cocaine and heroin distribution ring, city police say.
Police say they also seized three vehicles, $10,000 in cash, and a large amount of drug paraphernalia, including thousands of glass vials and plastic bags, in the raids that began about 2 p.m. yesterday.
They also found a large amount of mannite, used for diluting pure cocaine for street sale, "which would indicate this is a major supplier," said Agent Arlene K. Jenkins, a police spokeswoman.
In addition, police seized 11 weapons, including handguns, shotguns and rifles, and Teflon-coated bullets, which can penetrate a bulletproof vest. The raids were the result of a joint investigation by Baltimore police and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Warrants were served at three houses in the 1900 block of E. 30th St., a house in the 5500 block of Force Road and a house in the 1500 block of Pentridge Road.
Police identified the kingpin of the ring as Faouly Abeid Umoja, 43, of the 1900 block of E. 30th St., who was charged with distribution of cocaine. Mr. Umoja and the other seven were being held at the Eastern police station awaiting an appearance before a court commissioner.
Police identified the remaining seven people arrested as Kenneth Knox, 29, of the 5500 block of Force Road; Maurice Barnes, 35, of the 1900 block of E. 30th St.; James Moore, 46, of the 1700 block of E. 30th St.; Raymond Phillips, 35, of the 1700 block of E. 29th St.; Rodney Huey, 32, of the 2000 block of E. 31st St.; Rodney Bryant, 36, of the 1800 block of E. 29th St., and Shawn Knight, 19, of 5800 block of The Alameda.
Police say residents near the raided houses phoned a drug hot line with complaints of drug trafficking.
Undercover officers were able to make several drug purchases, some from the houses that were raided yesterday and some on the street, police said. The seizure of the vehicles yesterday was a result of those street buys, Agent Jenkins said.
Postal investigators also received information about four months ago that the ring was using the mail to receive drugs, said postal inspector Michael W. Vision. Arrest warrants were being served today on one former postal employee and two current employees who were involved in the ring, he said.