What started with a single rock of crack cocaine in Lansing has resulted in several arrests on federal charges, and millions of dollars in seized assets and firearms. For the past 5 years Lansing police have been involved in a narcotics investigation that led them to Detroit, Los Angeles and to a Mexican drug cartel.
After getting 27 convictions and taking down the AHH DEE AHH Detroit drug organization in 2007, the department began Operation: Holiday Express. That resulted in 12 indictments filed in federal court in Grand Rapids this week.
On Wednesday, Lansing police officers took part in the serving of search warrants in Detroit and Los Angeles, resulting in the arrest of 7 of 12 indicted suspects. They also located several firearms and seized 19 bank accounts worth millions of dollars, as well as 24 motor boats.
Through years of investigation, authorities estimate that between 2001 and April of 2006 the crime organization based in Detroit and operating in Lansing distributed over a 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, almost 100 kilograms of heroin, and thousands of pounds of marijuana. The indictments also alleged that AHH DEE AHH was involved in two kidnappings, several shootings, and other violent crimes in the Lansing area.
Lansing officers are very proud of the effort and the result and the officer who led the investigation tells News 10 this sends a message.
"We're gonna track dangerous felons and drug traffickers outside the jurisdiction of Lansing," says Lieutenant Larry Klaus. "If it's coming from Detroit, we're gonna go to Detroit and apprehend those felons so that type of violent crime doesn't come into our community."
LPD could take in eight to $10 million dollars when all the bank accounts, drugs and property are added up from one of the biggest drug busts in department history.
That money must go to drug prevention programs, but Klaus says it could save some cop jobs. He'd like that to happen, especially after how he heard about one of the 14 LPD layoffs Wednesday.
"During the middle of our operation in Los Angeles, our lead investigator, Sergeant (Hung) Tran, a 17-year police veteran, got pink slipped," says Klaus. "Right in the middle of an operation it's a hard pill to swallow."
These cuts could also jeopardize future endeavors like this investigation, according to Klaus.