Pubdate: Fri, 04 Jun 2004
Source: Fort Pierce Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2004 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Author: Robin Campbell
Bookmark: (Cocaine)


FORT PIERCE -- A major South Florida drug ring, recently busted up by
investigators, was responsible for 25 percent of all cocaine
distributed in Fort Pierce, St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said
on Thursday.

"We have made a dent in the supply," Mascara said at a news conference
about the year-long investigation, arrests and seizure of more than 40
pounds of cocaine. Cocaine has gone from $900 an ounce on the street to
$1,100 an ounce," he said.

Since May 24, officials have arrested seven men suspected of
distributing cocaine and other drugs in St. Lucie County for the last
five to seven years, according to Richard Piccininni, a special agent
with Florida Department of Law Enforcement's Fort Pierce field office.

Two of the men are from Fort Pierce.

In the first wave of arrests on May 24, Antoine Dimitri Knight, 30, of
the 100 block of Fennemore Court, and five other South Florida men
were charged with conspiracy to possess, with intent to distribute

Knight, whose home was used as a local "stash house" for the cocaine,
was initially arrested April 24 on Interstate 95 in Hobe Sound. He was
allegedly transporting more than 14 pounds of cocaine from suspected
ringleader Oscar Knowles' home in Coral Springs to Fort Pierce.

Robert Lenard Adams, 32, of the 3000 block of West Dixie Boulevard,
was arrested May 27.

A third Treasure Coast resident, Darrell Lavern Reaves, of Vero Beach,
and another South Florida man, Marlon Vance Sills, are wanted by
local, state and federal authorities.

The investigation, called "Operation Dog Fight" because of the
organization's connection with dog-fighting rings, included the
efforts of officials from the FDLE, the State Attorney's Office, the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Department of Homeland
Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

A series of reportedly intercepted cellular phone conversations
between Knowles and his underlings, allegedly about cocaine deals and
shipments, led to the arrests.

According to court documents, the men were distributing as much as 110
to 176 pounds of cocaine per month throughout Florida -- a lot of
which was delivered to Fort Pierce, Mascara said. He estimated about
220 pounds a year was making its way to the area.

"We've yielded a real impact in St. Lucie County and other parts of
the state," Mascara said. "I'm thankful to rid this community of these

All the men, indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury, could face up
to life in prison and fines of up to $4 million if convicted.
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