Task Force busts alleged major heroin gang

Updated: Saturday, September 24, 2016 @ 3:33 PM
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2012 @ 10:27 PM
By: Doug Page - Staff Writer

Federal and local authorities have busted what they say is a violent heroin gang, taking tens of thousands of dollars worth of drugs off the street and disrupting a pattern of violence that may have been responsible for multiple homicides and armed robberies throughout the region.

The Safe Streets Task Force announced the arrests of 12 members of the Zone 6/BPN gang on Wednesday. The task force has been tracking the gang since 2011 and had it under surveillance in April when an undercover Dayton police detective was shot outside of Leo’s II Bar in Trotwood.

“This ongoing investigation started in April of 2011. The members of the Zone 6/BPN gang are suspects in multiple homicides and robberies,” Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said at a Wednesday press conference.

FBI Supervisory Special Agent Tim Ferguson said nine of the 12 alleged gang members arrested over the past 10 days have been indicted on multiple heroin and weapons charges. Three other alleged gang members already were in jail on state charges prior to the release of the indictment, he said.

“This leaves a void in the street-level heroin trade,” Ferguson said. “But there is always someone who will try to fill that void. Our job is to gather the intelligence to get the next group.”

Also off the streets are 10 handguns, three assault-style rifles, a shotgun and more than $46,000 in alleged drug money.

The same task force took down the Booby Hill gang in March, arresting seven alleged gang members. They were charged with working in Fairborn, Middletown and Wapakoneta to peddle hundreds of grams of heroin to addicts throughout Auglaize, Butler, Greene and Montgomery counties. Some of the families of the arrested have denied that their relatives are involved in gangs.

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said officers were aware of the Zone 6 gang — a group of “friends and family” not bound to a particular neighborhood, according to Ferguson — in early 2011. Biehl said the task force got involved after Zone 6 got into a shootout with another group in front of JP’s Bar, a Gettysburg Avenue night spot, in August 2011. ” It was then Biehl asked for help from the task force and surveillance of the gang started.

The August shootout was captured on security video. It showed two men pulling a man from a car and robbing him at gunpoint. At one point, a man is seen running backward while firing a handgun.

“We knew we had to do something to protect the public,” Biehl said.

Three of the 12 were arrested in Atlanta, according to Ferguson.

According to the 22-count federal indictment, all nine are indicted on charges of conspiring to distribute more than 1 kilogram of heroin. Neither the indictment nor officials identified anyone as the group’s leader.

The indictment alleges Zone 6/BPN — Bottle Poppin’ Network — bought heroin in bulk and broke it into smaller amounts to sell to users. The group shared cell phones —money phones — to set up the sales with the users. When one member couldn’t sell on a particular day, he would give the money phone to another member to continue the sales. The group also established stash houses where they stored and sold their drugs. For security, the group often kept weapons and, in one case, body armor in the stash houses.

Those stash houses included 2742 Oxford Ave., 66 N. Hatfield St. — both in Dayton — and 472 Ginger Place in Trotwood.

Those arrested and their charges include:

  • Brittan A. “BB” Gibson, 25, one count of drug trafficking and two counts of possessing a firearm in the furtherance of the trafficking
  • Sherman Brown, 23, five drug distribution counts, one count of maintaining a stash house, two firearms count, and one count involving the sale of two bulletproof vests as a convicted felon
  • Brian J. “BH” Hunter, 21, two drug counts and one firearms count
  • Keith A. Strickland Jr., 24, one drug count, one firearms count and one stash house count
  • Steven L. “Stevie-O” Mayberry, 21, one drug count
  • Paul “P” Hudson, 25, one drug count, two firearms counts, one stash house count
  • Maurice R. “Fat-Fat” Morgan Jr., no age available, two drug counts
  • Marcus Gullatte, no age available, one drug count, one firearms count and one stash house count
  • Jerron McDowell, 19, one drug count and one firearms count

Authorities also confiscated a 2008 Dodge Charger, 10 handguns, three assault-style rifles, bulletproof vests, assorted jewelry and $46,382 in cash.

Three other alleged gang members — Tyler “BG” Hamilton, 20, Gabriel “Gino” Newman, no age available, and Todd Clark, 24 — were in jail prior to the indictments on various state charges, the FBI’s Ferguson said. Hamilton was involved in a drug-related homicide in Harrison Twp. last year. Hamilton was in his car when he shot a 19-year-old Hillsboro man when the man attacked him in an argument over a drug sale. Prosecutors declined to charge Hamilton because of the state’s Castle Doctrine that allows a person to defend themselves against attack in their house or vehicle.

A 13th alleged gang member, 22-year-old Charles Moore III, was killed in a traffic accident last month when he spotted an undercover sheriff’s deputy and fled along Gettysburg, running a red light at Hoover Avenue. His Jeep was struck by another vehicle at the intersection. Police found cash and multiple cell phones in the wrecked Jeep.

Only 3 women have been Time’s ‘Person of the Year’

Updated: Sunday, September 25, 2016 @ 10:07 PM
Published: Wednesday, December 10, 2014 @ 5:52 PM
By: George Mathis

In 2002, three women won Time’s “Person of the Year”as “The Whistleblowers.”

I’ve never been accused of being a political correctness sympathizer, but even I find it odd that Time magazine has only named three individual women as its “Person of the Year.”

The magazine has awarding the honor since 1927, but has only given it to three women.

Even more curious, since bowing to political correctness in 1999 and renaming the “Man of the Year” award, the magazine has never awarded it to an individual woman.

Looking for a trivia question few will answer correctly?

The last woman to win was Corazon Aquino in 1986. She bravely overthrew the corrupt government of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos.

Marcos’ wife, Imelda, was infamous for collecting more than 3,000 pairs of expensive shoes.

The other two individual female winners are linked by British royalty.

Wallis Simpson, who won in 1936, was the American woman who married King Edward VIII, who had to abdicate the British throne to marry the twice-divorced socialite.

King Edward VIII’s brother was promoted and became King George VI. His oldest daughter became Queen Elizabeth II, the current British monarch and winner of Time’s “Man of the Year” award in 1952.

The first lady of China, Soong May-ling, who may or may not have slept with Republican presidential candidate Wendell Willkie, won the prize along with her husband, Chiang Kai-shek, in 1937.

Women have been included in various groups that have been recognized by the magazine.

This year, for example, the winner was “The Ebola Fighters,” who thankfully beat out country music singer Taylor Swift, Russian leader Vladimir Putin and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Other groups include “American Women” (1976) and, after the word “man” was dropped from the title, “Whistleblowers” (2002) and “Good Samaritans” (2005).

“U.S. Scientists” won in 1960, when there were probably fewer females in science that there are today (15 percent according to some studies).

“The American Soldier” won in 2003 when there were probably fewer females in the military than there are today (once again, about 15 percent).

As bad as some choices have been lately, it is hard to top the back-to-back winners of 1938 and 1939 — Stalin and Hitler — who won, coincidentally, immediately after the aforementioned Wallis Simpson and Soong May-ling.

Stalin, a firm believer in the maxim “nice guys finish last,” won again in 1942.

At least twice, the winner has had no gender: “The Computer” (1982) and “The Endangered Earth” (1988, but it should have been “Life on Earth” since the planet will go on with or without us).

Why haven’t more women won the coveted cover prize? Do women get overlooked?

Or has society not yet produced enough women that deserve to win?

Looking through the list I found it odd Princess Diana didn’t win in 1997. That year the crown went to Andrew Grove, the CEO on Intel.

In 2012, Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, who spoke out against the discrimination of girls and was shot in the face my Muslim extremists, was passed over for President Barack Obama, who had won earlier in 2008.

Yousafzai accepted a Nobel Peace Prize today. It’s just my opinion, but that probably looks a lot better on a resume than a magazine cover.

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First Presidential debate: What time, what channel, who is the special guest?

Updated: Sunday, September 25, 2016 @ 6:45 PM
By: Debbie Lord - Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            First Presidential debate: What time, what channel, who is the special guest?
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures to the crowd during a rally in Roanoke, Va., Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016. Trump faces Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton in the first of three debates Monday. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

It’s expected  to be the most watched debate in U.S. history.

Upward of 100 million people could tune in Monday night to see the first presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump.

The two will meet in  New York for the first of three debates scheduled for the next few weeks.

Here’s a quick look at Monday’s debate.

What time is it on?

The debate begins at 9 p.m. It will be 90 minutes long, without commercial interruption.

Where can I see it?

The debate will be broadcast live on cable news networks, the three major networks and other media outlets including social media.

Where is it?

The debate is being held at Hofstra University on Long Island, N.Y.

What is the structure  for the debate?

The first debate will be divided into six 15-minute segments. The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

Who will moderate the debate?

The moderator of the first debate will be NBC's Lester Holt.

What are the topics for the debate?

The topics will include "America’s Direction," "Achieving Prosperity" and "Securing America," in that order. 

Will anyone else be on the debate stage?

No, the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, and the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, failed to qualify for a spot on the debate stage.

Special guest?

Rumors are that Gennifer Flowers, who in the 1990s had an affair with Bill Clinton, will be in the front row of the debate audience. Apparently, Trump invited Flowers after he was told that Dallas Mavericks owner and Trump detractor  Mark Cuban would be attending the debate, sitting in the front row.  (Update: Gov. Mike Pence told Fox News that Gennifer Flowers will not be  attending the debate and that Trump was simply mocking the Clinton campaign's announcement that Mark Cuban will be there.)

GOP Florida lawmaker criticized for politicized Jose Fernandez tweet

Updated: Sunday, September 25, 2016 @ 6:34 PM
Published: Sunday, September 25, 2016 @ 6:00 PM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            GOP Florida lawmaker criticized for politicized Jose Fernandez tweet
Matt Gaetz/Twitter



A Republican Florida lawmaker was criticized Sunday for politicizing the death of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.

Matt Gaetz, who represents District 4 in the Florida House of Representatives and is running for Congress, tweeted shortly after it was confirmed that the 24-year-old Fernandez had died in a boating wreck early Sunday off Miami Beach.

>> Read more trending stories   

“To all who will kneel during the anthem today — just remember how Jose Fernandez risked his life just for the chance to stand for it,” Gaetz tweeted Sunday morning, referring to the Cuban native’s efforts to reach the United States from the communist island country. The tweet referenced the trend of professional athletes — following the lead of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who kneel in protest during the national anthem. 

Fernandez escaped Cuba in 2007 after serving jail time for three failed attempts to leave the country. On his fourth try, he jumped into the water and rescued his mother after she fell out of their boat.

Lorenzo Veloz, a spokesman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said Fernandez was one of three men who died in the boating accident.

Twitter users reacted swiftly to Gaetz’s tweet, with sports commentator Keith Olbermann calling the candidate a “cheap exploitative humanoid scumbag.”

Gaetz responded later to other posts, tweeting that “My point is that while America remains imperfect, so many do so much to enjoy our freedoms. Seems ungrateful to kneel. Just my opinion.”

He later tweeted that he wished “the national discussion was more productive on this stuff.

In his first tweet after hearing the news of Fernandez’s death, Gaetz said he was “crushed” by the news.

Fernandez was finishing his best major league season, going 16-8 with a 2.86 ERA. He was an all-star for the second time.

He was set to start Monday's Marlins game against the Atlanta Braves.

Gaetz won the GOP primary for his district Aug. 30.

School requires background checks for parents to eat lunch with students

Updated: Sunday, September 25, 2016 @ 4:05 PM
Published: Sunday, September 25, 2016 @ 3:42 PM
By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

            School requires background checks for parents to eat lunch with students
(Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

One Alabama school system has a specific requirement for parents wanting to be involved at their school.

WBRC reported that if a student's mom, dad or guardians want to eat lunch with them within the Pelham City School System in Pelham, Alabama, they will need to pass a background check.

>> Read more trending stories

“We have so much parental involvement that the question came up, ‘How do we know everyone in our school is safe to be around our kids?’” Dr. Scott Coefield, the superintendent of Pelham City Schools, told WBRC.

The background checks cost $15.

WBRC reported that some parents expressed concerns about the policy, with one mother saying she wonders how the policy may affect families who are unable to pay for the background check and those who may not be able to complete one because of their immigration status.

Coefield told WBRC there have already been cost cuts made to make the background check more affordable, in addition to a decrease in other fees for parents. But he won't "bend the rules for people who can't get the proper documentation."

The school system, which became independent in 2014, also has a background check policy for parents accompanying students on field trips.