Eleven men arrested in investigation of drug and weapons ring

Authorities on Wednesday arrested 11 men, several of whom have ties to street gangs, on charges of cocaine and firearms trafficking in Northern Virginia, officials said.

The arrests were part of a three-year investigation of drug and weapons rings that operated primarily in Manassas and Fairfax County that so far have resulted in charges against more than 60 people, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement.

The 11 men were arrested during raids on four houses Wednesday night by member of the Northern Virginia Violent Crimes Task Force, which consists of ATF agents and members of the Fairfax County police, Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office, Prince William County police and Manassas Park police.

 Prosecutors said the men are part of a ring that supplies cocaine to street level dealers, and that investigators purchased or seized more than three kilograms of cocaine and 20 guns.

 Officials said most of the men are in the country illegally, many from Mexico, and have affiliations to street gangs such as La Raza, SUR-13 and 18th Street, but they currently lived in Manassas, Manassas Park and Sterling.

Prosecutors charged nine men with conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, which carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, officials said. One man also was charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

 

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.

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