Etowah investigators seize 400 grams of cocaine in drug bust - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Etowah investigators seize 400 grams of cocaine in drug bust

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GADSDEN - AL -

Etowah County investigators seized Wednesday the largest quantity of pure cocaine they have seen in a long time.  Members of the Drug Task Force found more than 400 grams of cocaine from a house on North 9th Street.  Investigators said the powder has a street value of about $40,000, and can be worth $60,000 after it is processed into crack cocaine.

"One of the largest amounts we have seen in years within the county.  Cash seized, weapons seized, four bad guys off the street.  Good to see this happen," Sheriff Todd Entrekin said.

Investigators spent two months monitoring the operations of the suspected drug operation.  Task force commander Rob Savage said the case began with anonymous tips to law enforcement.  Over the past eight to 10 weeks, officers watched numerous sales of cocaine.

"What we saw during the course of this investigation was up to 50 to 60 individuals a day making contact with these people.  That's a lot at one spot," Savage said.

The SWAT team along with Gadsden Police Department's special projects team and other deputies and officers served search warrants Wednesday at the 9th Street home as well as a home on Mary Street and a home in Attalla.  Investigators said the officers timed the coordinated effort perfectly.

"Executed those warrants all within a matter of about 10 seconds of each other.  All four were within custody within a minute and overall it went very well," Savage said.

Investigators said all four suspects were armed.  Officers seized primarily handguns, but also an assault rifle.  Savage displayed the seized firearms and ammunition at Thursday's press conference, and also held up a metal cylinder.

"This is a 100 round drum for an AK 47.  It was loaded, and this weapon was at [the 9th Street home].  I think you can draw some conclusions--if you have 40-thousand dollars worth of product in one place--what the purpose of the gun is," he said.

Agents arrested 35-year-old Richard Louis Riddle for trafficking in cocaine and two counts of distribution of a controlled substance.  His older brother, Jhavaris Rashawn Riddle, is charged with distribution of a controlled substance and multiple probation violations.

Jerome Benard Williams, 30, is charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, and a probation violation.

The fourth person arrested is 34-year-old Roderick Randall Loyd.  Sheriff Entrekin said Loyd is the first person in Etowah County charged under a new firearms law which went into effect August 1.  Loyd is charged as a violent felon in possession of a loaded firearm, and also with possession of a controlled substance.

"I think this is a good example of how the drug trade takes away from our community," Gadsden Police Chief John Crane said.

"The drugs themselves take away from the dignity of our citizens, the weapons take away their safety.  I think this is a good example that we're taking it back," Crane said.

Investigators said there are additional cases pending against the accused drug dealers.  The Drug Task Force Unit submitted their current findings to the United States Attorney's office and will seek federal prosecution.

"We're very pleased to have these guys in custody. We're more pleased that it happened without incident an injuries," Savage said.

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