Twenty-five people are facing federal drug and weapons charges in Virginia after a two-year investigation into the sale of cocaine and heroin in Manassas, authorities said.
The probe, known as Operation Bull Run, targeted street-level dealers, middlemen and suppliers. As the case unfolded, authorities seized 85 weapons, 500 grams of crack cocaine and two kilograms of powder cocaine with a combined street value of more than $1 million. More drugs and guns were seized during arrests made over the past few days.
The defendants include an aspiring rapper, a 60-year-old woman and a man authorities say is one of the leaders of a large crack cocaine operation in Manassas.
The defendants were charged in eight indictments and five criminal complaints that were unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. Authorities said 20 other people were charged in state courts.
Court documents offer a window into drug rings that authorities said provided small amounts of cocaine to hundreds of users over several years. Undercover officers and agents and confidential informants made 215 controlled buys of drugs and weapons. Authorities also secretly recorded conversations.
In court papers, Special Agent Jeremy Witkowski of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives described a September meeting between a confidential informant and a midlevel supplier at a Manassas home.
The informant told authorities that he complained about the quality of cocaine he was about to purchase from defendant Luciano Perez-Sorto, 31. Perez-Sorto, the informant reported, summoned his supplier, who showed up to discuss the dispute.
The supplier said "he had a family and that he owed his supplier for the cocaine," the documents state. If he didn't produce enough cash, he said, he'd be killed. Then he pulled out a gun and threatened the informant.
The informant, the documents said, handed over about $5,500 and took the drugs, according to the documents.
Those charged include Paul Q. Roberts, 38, of Manassas, who goes by the nickname "Diddy," and is alleged to be a leader of a large crack cocaine operation in the city.
The oldest defendant, 60-year-old Lucinda Willis, of Manassas, is charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine from February 2010 through October. Brady Baxter Scott, 36, known as "Supa Shug," is an aspiring rapper.
The case was investigated by the Northern Virginia Violent Crime Task Force, a partnership of local and federal authorities.
"Thanks to the dedicated men and women on this task force, we removed over 80 guns and several pounds of illegal narcotics from the streets of Prince William County," said Rich Marianos, ATF acting special agent in charge.