United States Attorney Richard W. Moore of the Southern District of Alabama joined Mobile Police Chief Lawrence L. Battiste, Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran, DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley, HSI Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Toby Taylor, and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Jewell in announcing the unsealing today of a forty-eight count indictment charging forty-two members and associates of a Mobile County, Alabama-based multi-state drug smuggling and distribution organization known as the “Crossley Hills Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO).”
The grand jury charged the members and associates with narcotics conspiracy and firearms offenses. The Grand Jury also charged that overdose deaths of four individuals were attributable to the drugs trafficked by the Crossley Hills DTO. The indictment was the result of two years of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation by federal, state, and local law enforcement into the narcotics activities of the Crossley Hills group.
To date, nineteen defendants have been taken into custody today; seven other defendants were already in custody. Defendants arrested this morning in the Southern District of Alabama will be presented and arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine P. Nelson today. Three defendants were to be arrested in the Western District of Louisiana today. U.S. Attorney Richard W. Moore said: “The COVID pandemic has overshadowed another public health crisis that still exists in our community: overdose death due to opioid abuse. The indictment of those associated with the Crossley Hills drug trafficking organization in West Mobile, Alabama represents the combined work of our local law enforcement agencies plus our federal agencies to dismantle this criminal enterprise. This group peddled drugs that in at least four cases resulted in the deaths of sons, daughters and other loved ones from our community. The Crossley Hills organization sold a drug that was potent enough to kill its users earning it the name “Grey Death.” There is no corner of our country or our community that has been spared this national crisis, and we cannot arrest or prosecute our way out of it. This is going to take a different kind of intervention by all of us in the community to prevent more deaths from opioid abuse.” Mobile Police Chief Lawrence L. Battiste said, “I would like to emphasize the impact of the collaboration of all of the agencies involved.”
“There are 42 individuals in our community that will no longer be allowed to prey on the most vulnerable among us. Our community is going to be made better from the results of this operation.” DEA Special Agent in Charge Brad L. Byerley said, “The wreckage caused by drugs and violence affects everyone. No matter the amounts of drugs they sell, drug dealers breed crime in our neighborhoods and are a danger to our children. Drug overdoses have increased dramatically and are destroying countless lives. The arrests in this investigation demonstrate to the citizens of Mobile and the surrounding area that law enforcement can come together and accomplish great things. DEA and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners will continue to investigate those who distribute poison with no regard for human life. These arrests should also serve as a warning to drug dealers in communities throughout this region and beyond your illegal and destructive actions will not be tolerated.” Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran said, “This joint investigation by all levels of law enforcement shows how prevalent the opioid problem is within our community, and may for the first time directly tie drug dealers to the deaths and overdoses of those in the chains of addiction.”
“The days of these criminals selling poison and destroying lives are over,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “Powerful opioids like fentanyl have the potential to kill just by contact and are far too dangerous to be sold on the street. HSI and its law enforcement partners will continue to work tirelessly to bring an end to criminal organizations, like this, that are flooding the community with dangerous drugs.” ATF’s priority in the case focuses on the recovery of crime guns which include those that have been stolen. The use of NIBIN technology will determine if these firearms have been used in previous crimes.
ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge Toby Taylor remarked, “ATF’s Crime Gun Intelligence partnerships as part of Project Guardian focuses on the devastating impact of firearms and narcotics trafficking violence and works with the entire community to provide a safe environment.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge James Jewell stated, “This case is a testament to the partnerships that exist among the state, local, and federal law enforcement entities in our area. These arrests should sound the alarm for those who choose to sell this poison on our streets and in our communities. FBI Mobile is proud to stand with our law enforcement partners in this important mission.”
According to the indictment, the Crossley Hills DTO operated in Mobile County, Alabama, and elsewhere, distributing various controlled substances, including heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, Xanax, Oxycodone, Opana, and Roxicodone to customers in Southern Alabama and elsewhere. Relying on regional and local sources of supply to acquire controlled substances for its distribution, the indictment alleges that the Crossley Hills DTO, beginning in 2016, has distributed a substantial amount of the heroin in Mobile County, Alabama.
These heroin sales have led to numerous overdoses resulting in hospitalizations and deaths, according to the indictment. Charged in the indictment are Martin Carlton Melton, aka MC; Jessie Lee Andrews; Lisa Overby Brokaw; Reginald Irvin Burgess; Melody Noel Cleburn, aka Angel Noel; Jimmy Earl Conner; Mortimer Adrian Cottrell, aka Cuz; Khadarrin J. Crayton, aka KD; Chad Joshua Delevieleuse, aka Chad the Pilot; Donna J. Delevieleuse; Kiairus Jamer Diamond, aka Nephew; Julisa Natalia Dillard; Sydney Elizabeth Dunn; Marinda Olivia Loetta Heflin; Cornell Lemont Houston, aka CJ; Avamae Gaynell Jackson, aka Ava; Tomocus Lawrence Jackson, aka J-Bo; Richard Gaines Krause; Brittany Victoria Lovejoy; Harrison Lavelle Luker; Austin Tyler Mamuscia; Tyler Weston Martin; Fitzalbert Norman Mcgloshen, aka Fitz; Gabrielle Antoinette Mims; Jonas Moore, aka Rip; Autumn Jean Moorehead; Annetta Gaynell Owens, aka Gaynell; Adam Joseph Owens, aka AJ; aka Big Homie; William Grant Owens, aka Whip, aka Surge; Edwin Jerome Owens, aka EJ; Terry Lamont Owens, aka Solo; Amber Lee Parker, aka Amber Russell; Ed Ray Patterson, aka Unc, aka Pop; Wendy Gale Roberts; Mark Robert Rupprecht, aka Ghost; Alex Scott, aka Black; Lemont Stevens, aka Mont; Denton Taylor Stanley; and Jessica Defloren Tubb aka Allie. Six defendants were charged with distributing fentanyl that resulted in overdose deaths of four people. Martin Carlton Melton, aka MC; Terry Lamont Owens, aka Solo; Cornell Lemont Houston, aka CJ; Marinda Olivia Loetta Heflin; William Grant Owens, aka Whip, aka Surge; and Jessica Defloren Tubb, aka Allie would be subject to a minimum mandatory sentence of twenty years and a maximum of life if convicted. Sentences for other defendants would vary depending on the type and amount of drugs attributable to them in the conspiracy.
In addition to the drug trafficking charges, five defendants were charged with firearms violations. Adam Joseph Owens, aka AJ, was charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Ed Ray Patterson, aka Unc, aka Pop; Tomocus Lawrence Jackson, aka J-Bo, aka CJ; and Alex Scott, aka Black, were charged with possession of firearms after a felony conviction. This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Mobile Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation under the auspices of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Baldwin County Drug Task Force, and the Saraland Police Department provided key investigative support to the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Luis F. Peral, Lead OCDETF Attorney, and Assistant United States Attorney George F. May are handling prosecution of the case for the United States.