Feds Say Six Charlotte-Area Men Arrested on Drug Charges are Linked to Mexican Cartel

From The Charlotte Observer by Michael Gordon, February 18, 2019

Six alleged members of a powerful Mexican drug cartel are in federal custody, accused of trafficking large sums of drugs and money through the Charlotte area for the past six years, court documents show.

The defendants, who federal authorities say were operating under the auspices of the Jalisco New Generation/Gulf Cartel in Mexico, are accused of moving shipments of cocaine and 100 percent pure methamphetamines through Mecklenburg and Iredell counties.

Federal agents have seized $200,000, which they say were the receipts from other drug operations that the group smuggled into the area from other drug transactions, court documents say.

As part of the investigation, investigators also had targeted five homes or apartments in Charlotte and Iredell County for searches. Five vehicles and a Statesville home have or will be seized, and 10 more cars and trucks are to be searched, documents show.

The Jalisco cartel is considered by many to be Mexico’s most powerful organized crime ring, accused of shooting down an Army helicopter in 2015 that left six Mexican soldiers dead, according to Business Insider in August 2018.

That year, as the group quickly gained power, Jalisco also was linked to the ambush killing of 15 police officers near the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, the Washington Post says in a 2015 story.

The six Charlotte-area defendants, identified in court documents as Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez, Raul Rangel-Gutierrez, Francisco Garcia-Martinez, Rodolfo Martinez, Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez and Rigoberto Rangel-Gutierrez, are each charged with drug trafficking conspiracy involving methamphetamines and cocaine. They were arrested earlier last week.

None of the defendants have legal residency in the United States, the affidavit says, and Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez has a previous conviction for illegal reentry.

According to an affidavit from Special Agent Timothy Bradley of the Homeland Security Investigations, who is assigned to Charlotte, the group has been moving drugs and money from Texas and into the Southeast since 2013 with Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez as its leader.

In an affidavit detailing the investigation, Bradley said federal authorities used wiretaps, a confidential informant and surveillance to map out “the large scope of the Rangel-Gutierrez drug trafficking organization within the United State and beyond.”

As recently as Jan. 22, the affidavit says, Oscar and Regulo Rangel-Gutierrez used another defendant’s car to transport $80,000 netted from the sale of three kilograms of cocaine from Myrtle Beach to Houston.

On Feb. 9, the group drove to Houston to pick up five kilograms of cocaine, which led to the six arrests when they returned to Charlotte two days later, the affidavit says.

Last May, according to Bradley’s affidavit, a joint investigation by various federal agencies began targeting Oscar Rangel-Gutierrez’ group as part of “Operation Lawless Town.”

 

 

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Published in: on February 20, 2019 at 11:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

CMPD Identifies Man Killed in Charlotte’s 18th Homicide of 2018

From WCNC, February 20, 2018

Police have identified a man shot and killed after a fight in west Charlotte early Wednesday morning, police said.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department reports 52-year-old Titus Campbell was found dead in a home on Tresevant Avenue just off Freedom Drive and Tuckaseegee Road around 3:30 a.m.

During a press conference, CMPD detectives said a dispute in the house led up to the shooting. Several people who were in the house at the time were interviewed by detectives.

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about this shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on February 20, 2019 at 10:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Recently Released Convicted Felon Charged in South Charlotte CATS Bus Attack, Attempted Kidnapping

Kelvin Jeffrey Jones is accused of attacking a young woman and threatening to stab her at a CATS bus stop in south Charlotte.
Information from WCNC by Ashley Daley, February 20, 2019

A man has been arrested in connection with the assault and attempted kidnapping of a woman at a south Charlotte CATS bus stop.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said that Kelvin Jeffrey Jones, 53, was arrested by G4S Police on an unrelated case and recognized him from photos distributed by CMPD.

Jones was transferred into the custody of CMPD and charged with first-degree kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury.

Jones is accused of grabbing the victim from behind while she was waiting for an Uber at the CATS bus stop at I-485 and South Boulevard around 7:30 Sunday night, February 17, 2019. The woman told 911 that the suspect told her if she looked at him, he would kill her.

“I just got stabbed right here inside the I-485 station,” she told the dispatcher, who replied, “Hold on hold on hold on, you just said you got stabbed?”

The woman says she began to walk away, when the man grabbed her from behind and held a knife to her neck.

Police say the woman used a stun gun she had with her and escaped with a cut during the struggle. She is expected to be OK.

According to jail records, Jones was released from prison this past September after serving a 9-year sentence for armed robbery.

“The goal when individuals enter prison is to rehabilitate them, sometimes that doesn’t always work,” said CMPD spokesperson Brad Koch.

On Tuesday, CMPD released surveillance photos and a description of the suspect. Within hours, Jones was in CMPD’s custody.

Jones is expected in court Wednesday morning.

“We hope the full weight of the justice system will now do its work,” said CMPD Chief of Police Kerr Putney.

Published in: on February 20, 2019 at 9:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

7 Charged for Driving Dirt Bikes, ATV’s ‘Erratically’ Through Charlotte

CMPD received numerous calls from the community reporting dirt bikes and ATV’s riding on several busy streets in Charlotte on Saturday February 16.

From http://www.wcnc.com, February 17, 2018

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have four people in custody after being accused of reckless driving on dirt bikes and ATV’s throughout several streets in Charlotte.

Police said around 3 p.m. Saturday CMPD received numerous calls from the community reporting approximately 70 dirt bikes and ATV’s riding on several busy streets in Charlotte.

Callers reported the dirt bikes and ATV’s on Morehead Street, Freedom Drive, Wilkinson Boulevard, Statesville Road, Oakdale Road, streets around South Park Mall and several other streets, said officers.

Police were able to locate the dirt bikes and ATV’s near the 4600 block of Oakdale Road, where four people were arrest and three others were issued citations.

CMPD said one of the four people apprehended, Kelvin Ross, 25, was arrested because the ATV he was driving had been reported stolen out of Georgia.

After further investigation that ATV was not stolen and the charges against Ross were dropped and he was released from jail.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is continuing to investigate this incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Published in: on February 17, 2019 at 9:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police Warning Parents About ’48 Hour Challenge’ that Encourages Teens to ‘Go Missing’

From Yahoo Lifestyle by Meghan Johnson, February 17, 2018

Police are telling parents to keep a watchful eye over their teens after stories of a “48-hour challenge” are popping up around the internet.

“It encourages teens to go missing for up to two days at a time and awards points for every social media mention while they’re missing,” KMOV reports.

Police say that in addition to being potentially dangerous for kids to participate in the challenge, it could also tie up authorities while there are real emergencies that need to be tended to. Anyone caught participating in the challenge could face charges, police warn.

This isn’t the first time stories of challenges like these have gone viral. After a similar alert went out to Michigan parents back in 2017, Snopes.com determined the trend was actually a hoax.

“In April 2015, the Daily Mail published a thinly sourced article titled ‘Parents left terrified by cruel new game on Facebook that sees children dare each other to vanish for 72 hours without telling relatives,’” Snopes wrote in 2017. “As with other panics of similar nature, the article breathlessly described as a ‘game’ that sounded of no real interest to teens whatsoever and included scant evidence that participants were actually undertaking the purported challenge.”

While it’s not clear where the 48-hour challenge originated, police say they are taking it seriously given the fact other challenges  like those around Tide Pods and the Netflix film Bird Box — became viral sensations.

Published in: on February 17, 2019 at 8:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gun Reports in CMS Hit a 10 Year High

From The Charlotte Observer by Ann Doss Helms, February 22, 2018

As the country reels from the latest mass shooting at a school, a new state report reveals that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools intercepted 19 guns at school last year, far more than any other district in North Carolina.

It marks a 10-year high, in a year when the statewide total declined from 118 to 105. CMS accounts for about 10 percent of total enrollment but almost 20 percent of last year’s guns on school grounds.

The guns were found at schools scattered across the county, including three elementary schools and a selective middle school magnet. None resulted in shootings, and the perennial question is whether CMS has an unusual number of armed students or an especially effective detection system.

Superintendent Clayton Wilcox said Thursday he hopes it’s the latter. The district urges students to speak up if they know a classmate has a weapon, he said, and some firearms are intercepted before the student even enters the building. A gun counts toward the tally if it’s found on school ground.

“The important statistic for me, while we had 19 guns, we did not have a shooting,” Wilcox said.

Wake County, the only North Carolina district larger than CMS, found 13 guns in 2016-17, up from only one the previous year. New Hanover County, a much smaller district than Wake and CMS, had 12.

According to the 2016-17 school crime and violence report, Garinger, Mallard Creek and West Charlotte high schools each had three guns last year, while Rocky River High had two. Eight other schools reported a single gun: Ashley Park PreK-8 School, Crestdale Middle, Hopewell High, Huntingtowne Farms Elementary, Palisades Park Elementary, Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology, Randolph Middle and Winget Park Elementary.

That might come as news to students and families. Wilcox says CMS doesn’t notify families about guns unless there’s a threat to students.

CMS is reviewing its school safety systems, including physical protection and staff training, after a former student gunned down 17 students and faculty at a Florida high school on Feb. 14.

The presence of guns and violence in schools often reflect trends in the community. Last year saw a spike in homicides in Mecklenburg County, though overall violent crime decreased slightly. Police Chief Kerr Putney has cited the prevalence of illegal guns as one factor in the surge of killings, and the Violent Crime Task Force recently concluded an eight-month investigation with 45 arrests on gun and drug charges.

The largest number of firearms reported in CMS was 28 in 2006-07. The district saw a sharp drop starting in 2008, but the number have risen the last two years.

On Wednesday the Observer requested the tally of guns found at CMS schools so far this year, but the district has not yet provided that information.

KIPP Charlotte, a charter school in northeast Charlotte, reported two guns last year, the only North Carolina charter school to report any.

The tallies are part of the state’s annual report on crime and violence in public schools, which covers such incidents as possession of alcohol, drugs and weapons, assaults on students and staff and sexual offenses. It will be presented to the state Board of Education next week.

In CMS the total number of acts reported went down, from 1,371 to 1,198.

Published in: on February 28, 2018 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Police Officer Attacked at CATS Transit Center

From WCNC, February 17, 2018

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said a G4S police officer was punched repeatedly and knocked out during an altercation in uptown Friday night.

The incident happened around 6:00 p.m. near the transit center. The area of 4th St. near Trade and Davidson was closed for a time while the situation was under investigation.

CMPD said G4S Company Police Officer Jeffery Outen got into an altercation with Reginald Lewis Alexander, 49, who was loitering on the property. Investigators said Officer Outen had asked the man to leave multiple times, but he came back.

“When he tried to restrain him, it’s like he wasn’t having it,” said Thomas Smith, a witnessed to the assault.

Investigators said Alexander punched Officer Outen in the head several times, knocking him to the ground where he hit his head on the sidewalk. Police said the man kept beating Outen while he was unconscious.

Other G4S Police Officers arrived on scene and arrested the suspect. CMPD officers responded as well.

Officer Outen was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. He had multiple stitches, a broken nasal bone and a damaged orbital socket.

Alexander has been charged with assault inflicting serious injury on a law enforcement officer.

The brutal attack followed several cases of violence in uptown last year including a 17 year-old who was kidnapped, robbed and assaulted at the transit center over the summer. Within hours of that crime, three men were arrested for a brawl outside the Epicentre.

Published in: on February 28, 2018 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Violent Crime on the Rise at Uptown Charlotte Transit Center

From WCNC, February 20, 2018

Violent crime is on the rise near the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS).

On Monday afternoon, a man was in court accused of assaulting a private police officer on Friday near the transit center in uptown.

The Defenders found more than 200 crimes happened within half a mile of the transit center since the beginning of this year, according to crime mapping. That includes more than 50 assaults. Last summer, a 17-year-old was kidnapped, robbed and assaulted in the same area.

“We’re living in a violent world, so these things are happening more often,” said one woman walking near the transit center.

The Defenders are also looking into violent crimes happening inside the buses. Over the years, video obtained by NBC Charlotte shows a passenger swinging at the CATS bus driver.

Other videos show everything from a person slapped in the face to a person sprayed with mace in the face as well as reports of someone burning clothes.

NBC Charlotte previously reported there were 60 incidents on buses and trains in 2015, with that number jumping to 66 incidents in 2016.

The officer assaulted near the transit center Friday suffered a broken nasal bone, a damaged eye socket and he needed multiple stitches.

“In the line of duty, they put themselves at risk, so of course I feel for that officer. I hope they’re OK,” one woman told NBC Charlotte.

Published in: on February 28, 2018 at 9:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Homicides, Rapes Up In Charlotte; Overall, Crime Down In 2017

From WFAE.org by Gwendolyn Glenn, January 31, 2017

CMPD Chief Kerr Putney painted a mixed picture Wednesday of how his department did in terms of reducing crime in 2017. Putney says overall crime was down by more than 5 percent, but homicides were up 25 percent and rapes increased by 12 percent.

It’s been well reported that homicides were up significantly–from 68 to 85 last year. CMPD Chief Putney says 60 of those cases have been solved. Domestic violence incidents accounted for more than a quarter those homicides. Putney says his officers will be required to take more domestic violence training to better equip them to deal with and prevent these types of incidents. Reported cases of rape increased to 306.

“We believe that in no small part, the reason people are stepping up and reporting these sexual offenses is because of what is going on nationally,” Putney said. “It is becoming a part of who we are as a society to report this kind of thing to hold people accountable. We applaud these sexual assault victims for their courage.”

Putney says other violent crimes and auto thefts were down by nearly 4 percent last year and property crimes and burglaries decreased by about 5 percent.

“What we take solace in is the fact that with that crime reduction, 3,000 fewer people were victimized in 2017 than the year prior, 3,000 fewer families impacted by robbery, car break-ins and having their homes burglarized.” Putney said.

Putney credited some of the crime reductions to his officers getting to know residents better in the communities they patrol. He pointed to initiatives where officers are mentoring and tutoring youths and says it helps that nearly 200,000 residents attended CMPD community engagement functions last year.

Putney made his comments at Faith Memorial Baptist Church in the Lakewood community, just northwest of uptown. That’s where CMPD is expanding one of its new initiatives. Together with non-profit groups and government agencies, the department is trying to reduce crime by focusing on the needs of families. It kicked off last year in the Hidden Valley neighborhood and Putney wants to take it citywide.

“We know if we heal an individual and a family we’re preventing crime. Everybody knows that research demonstrates that if you have mental health issues, lack of education and employment opportunities, and drugs you’re likely to engage in criminal behavior and we want to break the cycle,” Putney said.

Published in: on February 1, 2018 at 9:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

York County, SC Sheriff’s Detective Pronounced Dead One Day After Shooting

From Crime in Charlotte, January 18, 2018

A York County, SC Sheriff’s Detective critically injured in a shooting on Tuesday morning, January 17, 2018 was pronounced dead on Wednesday night, January 18, 2018.

The detective was shot during an incident in which three other officers were injured. Michael Doty, who had been a member of the Sheriff’s office for 12 years, was part of a manhunt for a suspect following a domestic incident in an area outside of York on Farrier Lane.

According to reports, the suspect, 47-year-old Christian Thomas McCall, fled the home after a call was made reporting an attack in progress on a woman. He fled into a nearby wooded area where members of the SWAT team as well as K9 officers were involved in a manhunt.

During the incident, McCall opened fire, striking Michael Doty. K9 Deputy Randy Clinton, Sheriff’s Sgt. Buddy Brown, and York Police Sgt. Kyle Cummings were also struck with gunfire.

Doty received critical injuries and was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead on Wednesday night. This newest development in the case will likely exacerbate the expected charges of the suspect.

McCall was also shot by officers during the incident and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

The other three officers are expected to survive their injuries.

Published in: on January 20, 2018 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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