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Miami Drug Gang is History, Police Say

Police claim success in dismantling an armed Brownsville, Fla. gang they say sold cocaine and pot in a public housing community.

BY TRENTON DANIEL, The The Miami Herald

Chinese AK-47-style rifles, a shotgun, a 9mm semiautomatic handgun and clear plastic baggies. A Northwest Miami-Dade street gang used these props to ply its lucrative but dangerous trade: cocaine and marijuana sales that brought in up to $30,000 a week.

But police say the gang of mostly twenty-somethings -- dubbed the "Brown Sub Boys" -- has just met its demise.

On Wednesday, Miami-Dade County police announced that officers, along with the state attorney's office, had dismantled a narcotics street gang with a series of arrests that began at 4 that morning.

The gang had been operating from the Annie Coleman housing complex in the Brownsville section of northwest Miami-Dade, police said.

"Undercover investigators and confidential informants purchased narcotics on over 40 different occasions throughout the course of this investigation," Miami-Dade Police Director Carlos Alvarez told reporters. "These transactions consisted primarily of the sale and purchase of cocaine and marijuana."

Alvarez said Wednesday's raid was the third bust of a violent narcotics gang in the northwest part of the county in the past 18 months.

Officers arrested 12 people, some of whom previously have faced charges concerning homicide, robbery, auto theft and firearm and narcotics violations.

Police arrested: Tavares Terrell Edgecomb, Chauncey Gussman Golfin, Avery Bernard Gordon, Jashene Tyquan Henton, Bernard Cordell Jefferson, Ray Charles Knight, Fontae Lyons, Joseph Darnell Rhodes, Demetrius Taronn Seay, Glenn Carlton Smith, Antonio Vance and Antwand J. White.

Officers are seeking nine others who are suspected of being gang members.

Those arrested on cocaine and racketeering charges could get 30 years in prison, and those on marijuana charges could get 15 years, said Frank Ledee of the state attorney's office.

After the raid, police cars patrolled the Brownsville neighborhood and area residents gathered on the streets that enclose the Annie Coleman housing complex, located between Northwest 24th and 25th avenues and 46th to 48th streets.

Some in the neighborhood saw the raid as a positive step.

"Obviously, if the police are doing their job, it will make our community safer," said Orlando Milligan, principal of Brownsville Middle School, 4899 NW 24th Ave.

Although police charged some of the men with selling cocaine and marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, Milligan said he was not aware of drug dealing near school grounds. He said, however, that occasional gatherings in the Marva Y. Bannerman Park across the street provoked concerns. Milligan would not elaborate.

The Rev. W.C. Byrd of the Bethany Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 2500 NW 50th St., called the raid a good move, saying, "The community, hopefully, will be a better place to live." But he wondered whether the alleged dealers would stay locked up.

"The main thing, though, is how long will they keep them off the streets?" Byrd said. "If it's a slap on the wrist, it's no good."

Byrd also noted that many drug dealers are young, unemployed or underemployed and easy to recruit. The arrests could mean little if the source of the drugs is not addressed, he said.

"We get these little guys -- the runners -- but you have to stop the suppliers," Byrd said.

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