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Feds targeting drug ring raid St. Louis County neighborhood

Feds targeting drug ring raid St. Louis County neighborhood

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY — More than a dozen raids Thursday on homes and businesses in the Castle Point area of St. Louis County and elsewhere were related to a nearly yearlong investigation of a violent drug gang there, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Three alleged members of the ring were indicted Wednesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis: Christile Cartier Hughes-Dillon, 23, Tajuan Wilson, 43, and Larenzo Smith, 22. All face a charge of conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute drugs. Hughes-Dillon also faces a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. All pleaded not guilty Friday.

Their lawyers either could not be reached for comment or declined comment Friday.

In court Friday and in filings seeking to keep all three in jail until trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoff Ogden said an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives into fentanyl and crack cocaine dealing and gun violence in the Castle Point area began in November and grew to include wiretaps, GPS tracking devices, hidden cameras and drug buys using confidential sources.

The “Hughes drug trafficking organization” includes Hughes-Dillon and relatives, prosecutors say, with Wilson as the primary supplier of drugs.

Prosecutors say Hughes-Dillon is a member of the “Bottom Boyz,” a “notorious and violent St. Louis-based street gang.”

Someone told investigators that they saw Hughes-Dillon exchanging shots with another gang, and randomly firing guns as he walked through Castle Point. Wiretaps captured Hughes-Dillon talking about possessing and using guns, giving guns to others in his organization, armed robberies and the use of guns “and other means of violence against various individuals.” Prosecutors say Smith robbed someone at a convenience store in Ferguson after discussing it with Hughes-Dillon and others.

Hughes-Dillon “is a very dangerous individual,” Ogden said in a Zoom court hearing Friday.

On Thursday, investigators executed about 14 search warrants, including 10 on homes and businesses allegedly used by the Hughes organization, seizing at least seven guns. They also said they seized about 1 kilogram of crack cocaine and 1 kilogram of cocaine from Wilson’s home.

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