CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD), conducted a major raid Wednesday morning in north Charlotte, targeting people who are accused of dealing crack cocaine.
At a press conference at CMPD's Eastway division, the FBI announced 19 people were arrested as a result of the morning raid. More than 100 FBI agents, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers and North Carolina state troopers were involved in the operation.
Overall, 22 people are in custody on federal and state drug offenses as of Wednesday afternoon. Police are still looking for six people they were unable to locate during the raid.
"We will not allow drug dealers to control the streets of our city," said FBI Special Agent John A. Strong.
WBTV exclusively captured video of multiple people being arrested in connection to this federal drug initiative. Authorities say most of the people arrested have a prior record. If they are convicted on these new drug offenses they may be in prison for more than 20 years.
Who exactly are some of the alleged drug traffickers police spent 6 months investigating? Not young gang bangers.
Instead, men and women in their 20's, 30's, 40's, even 60's... some with lots of criminal convictions.
Like 48 year old James Dixon... his record dates back to 1984 for assault and battery. State records show along the way he racked up larceny, felony breaking and entering, possession, trafficking, possession of a firearm by a felon, and habitual felon.
State records show back in 1999 Vinton Teeter was convicted of resisting an officer. Since then he's had a hit and run, assault on a female, possession and selling convictions.
McKinza Feaster has a robbery with a dangerous weapon, license revocation, DWI, larceny of a motor vehicle.
People who live in, and travel to, the community told WBTV this operation is a major step in the right direction.
"I'm excited," said Monica Redmond, who is the executive minister of St. Paul Baptist Church in the Belmont community.
"It's so very important for our worshipers when they come to church to come and feel safe," said Redmond.
Carl Taylor says he's watched the Belmont community change for the worst over the years.
"You can buy whatever you need," said Taylor. "Drugs, prostitution, it's all out there."
CMPD Deputy Chief Doug Gallant said the Belmont community needed a serious overhaul. In the last three months, Gallant says his officers received 31 calls for shots fired in the neighborhood.
"There are some windows in the church where you can see gunshots," said Taylor. "This is a major step but we can't stand on the laurels that we've done today, we have to do something more."
Taylor said that may be continuing to strengthen the relationship between the community and police.
Officials say the goal of the investigation and subsequent raid is to reduce drug distribution and drug related criminal activity in Mecklenburg County.
The charges these 22 people are facing are the result of a joint six-month investigation between the FBI and CMPD.
The FBI also warned those in the Belmont community that they are still looking for six people in connection to federal and state drug charges.
If you know any of the following people you're ask to call CMPD.
- Emanuel Gooding
- Thomas Pearce
- Miguel Perry
- Dontaie Patton
- Tanisha Harris
- Charles Vaughn Jr.