Federal prosecutors Wednesday announced two grand jury indictments against 13 members of the Grape Street Crips, a street gang suspected of manufacturing and distributing large quantities of the drug PCP throughout Southern California.
The first indictment was handed down Friday and accuses Grape Street "shot-caller" Alphonso Eugene Foster and his associates of producing the drug at a lab in the remote desert community of Landers for distribution in Watts and other locations throughout the country, authorities said.
When they were arrested, the operators were in the middle of a "PCP cook" that could have produced 54 kilos of PCP, with a street value of more than $1 million, according to the indictment. The drug, which is available relatively cheaply and provides a quick high, remains hugely popular on the street, authorities said.
In addition to Foster, others charged in the indictment include Kelvin Benn, 31; Jonnie Lee Boyd Sr., 47; Lydia Lenora Brown, 49; Charlotte Wright Jackson, 46; Darcell Morris; Ronell Napier, 38; Latera Kyesha Lashana Odom, 25; M.L. Scott, 43; Jamilah Latifa Terrell, 26; Kim Vernell Walker, 45; and Michael Edward Walker, 33.
A second indictment unsealed Wednesday named Anthony Rondele Robinzine, 38, as part of the drug conspiracy.
Attorneys for the defendants could not be reached for comment.
The charges were announced at the Los Angeles Police Department's 77th Street Division station at a news conference attended by U.S. Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey, U.S. Atty. Thomas O'Brien, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo and Police Chief William J. Bratton.
Mukasey said the FBI would be forming a task force that would combine resources with local law enforcement officials to target violent crime and gang activity, which he called one of his "top priorities as attorney general."
The indictments cap a six-month investigation that federal authorities said traced the gang's efforts to obtain "precursor chemicals" for PCP and manufacture the drug.
Foster and Kim Walker allegedly controlled a clandestine lab in Landers as well as S&W Graffiti Removal in San Bernardino, which was used as a front to obtain and store the chemicals, according to the indictment.
Authorities also alleged that a Watts home was used as a "stash house" and distribution center.