The smell of high-grade marijuana permeated the conference room at the State Bureau of Investigation Northern Piedmont District offices. Fifty pounds of the stuff piled up in plastic bags, along with 11 kilos of heroin and 8 kilos of cocaine constituted the narcotic yield on display from a multi-agency raid on Dec. 14 and 15 in Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem and Lexington, netting 11 arrests.
The raids also netted $171,000 in cash, six firearms, a 2015 Chevrolet Stingray, a 2015 Rolls-Royce Wraith and jewelry appraised at $426,000.
Standing beside law enforcement executives from Guilford and Davidson counties, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point and Thomasville, and with undercover agents filling the back of the room, Scott Williams, special agent in charge for the Northern Piedmont District, said the multi-agency effort to take down a drug-trafficking ring allegedly led by 33-year-old Jaquate Javon Simpson of Greensboro yielded an “unprecedented amount of heroin seized in the areas that were involved.”
Williams and other law enforcement executives acknowledged that the rising demand for heroin coupled with the Triad’s excellent road network make it inevitable that other drug dealers in the Triad are ready to step in to take Simpson’s place.
“As you can see from the photos of the jewelry that’s on that table and the car, the amount of money that this person was making and spending was quite impressive,” Williams said. “We just want to let the drug dealers that may be out there watching the news tonight know that none of us are naïve enough to think that Mr. Simpson was the only one, and we’re just not gonna take a break and pat ourselves on the back and not keep working.”
Williams said Simpson’s organization came to law enforcement attention in early 2017 through a federal Homeland Security investigation in coordination with the NC State Bureau of Investigation and the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office. Investigators’ scrutiny on Simpson led them to 10 other people arrested. Simpson said the agencies named the investigation “Operation Cash Cab” based on the discovery that some of the drugs were transported in taxi cabs.
In addition to Simpson, who is charged with two counts of trafficking heroin, two counts of trafficking cocaine, and one count of conspiring to traffic heroin, those charged include:
Penny Alesha McCrimmon, 35, High Point: one count of maintaining a vehicle or dwelling place for controlled substances, two counts of trafficking in cocaine, two counts of trafficking heroin, two counts of trafficking in marijuana, and one count of conspiracy to traffic heroin;
Whitney Denise Ware, 31, Greensboro: one count of maintaining a vehicle and dwelling place for controlled substance, and one count of trafficking in cocaine;
Marcus James Crouch, AKA “Boo,” 36, Greensboro: one count of maintaining a vehicle and dwelling place for controlled substances, one count of possession with intent to sell or distribute cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to manufacture, sell or distribute marijuana;
Brian Denard Tate, AKA “B Tate,” 32, Greensboro: one count of maintaining a vehicle or dwelling place for controlled substances, one count of trafficking cocaine, and one count of selling or delivering cocaine;
Joshua Lamar Wallington, AKA “Cap,” 28, Greensboro: one count of possessing a stolen firearm, one count of maintaining a vehicle or dwelling place for controlled substances, and one count of trafficking in cocaine;
L’Darron Dorsette Gary, 31, Greensboro: one count of possession of marijuana up to half an ounce;
Eric Vincent Crawford, AKA “Rick,” 58, Greensboro: one count of conspiracy to traffic heroin;
Adolfo Solano Medel, 28, Winston-Salem: one count of trafficking in cocaine;
Viviano Quinterio Valentin, 31, Winston-Salem: one count of conspiracy to traffic in cocaine; and
Jarvis Lee Powell, 35, Greensboro. Powell has already been charged and found guilty of maintaining a dwelling place for controlled substances and trafficking more than 200 grams of cocaine, according to the SBI.
Williams said the SBI’s partnership with local law enforcement was able to multiply his agency’s force, noting that he has only five agents dedicated to narcotics, while some of the larger local agencies like Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Guilford County have more vice officers than all of his agents combined. By pairing an SBI agent with a local officer, the multi-agency task force can cross jurisdictional lines. Williams said the US Drug Enforcement Administration and Guilford County District Attorney’s office also contributed to the investigation.
“On this day, you can say that these drugs here will not make it to our communities,” Winston-Salem police Chief Catrina Thompson said. “They will not be used to destroy families in our neighborhoods. They will not be used as pawns to gain money to further somebody else’s drug enterprise.”