Tuesday, 21 June 2011 00:00

Frayser Community Furthers the D.A.’s Drug Market Initiative

June 21, 2011 - On June 16, 2011, members of the Memphis Police Department, United States Attorney's Office and the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office and Union Grove Baptist Church, participated in "Drug Market Initiative (DMI)-II."
The Drug Market Intervention Initiative (DMI) addresses the challenge of effectively responding to illegal drug markets and their associated crime, violence, and disorder that has proven challenging for communities and law enforcement for decades.
The DMI-II began June 4th, 2010, and focused primarily on open-air drug markets in the Frayser area, more specifically in the area of Corning & Steele. The operation ended April 11th, 2011.
The results of Operation DMI-II include:
  • Indictments against 4 Federal and 36 State defendants
  • Of the 40 defendants, six individuals are known gang members
  • DMI-II Investigation resulted in 16 chargeable Federal offenses and 96 chargeable State offenses
  • 40 arrests were made: 31 Felony, 5 Misdemeanor, 4 Misdemeanor Citations
  • 8,197 grams of marijuana, .17 grams crack, 17.0 grams seroquel (pills) were confiscated
  • $556 was seized, 1 handgun was recovered and 7 vehicles were seized
  • Six nuisance closure petitions were served: 2515 Lisa, 2148 Stephanie, 3420 N. Watkins, 1268 Carrolton, 3993 N. Trezevant, and 1991 Gayle.
Additionally, six (6) individuals were identified as eligible for intervention. This intervention is intended to reform these individuals and keep them out of the criminal justice system.
“What we hope to accomplish in the Corning and Steele area is watching the residents transform these blocks from crime scenes to neighborhood,” said District Attorney General Amy Weirich. “Over the last few days, state and federal law enforcement have arrested 40 individuals accused of dealing drugs in this area. They will be dealt with accordingly in state and federal courts. But some residents are getting a second chance. They are not being prosecuted for crimes we know they committed. We want to give them an opportunity---an opportunity to rebuild themselves, and, even greater, an opportunity to rebuild this community.”
DMI is a strategic problem-solving initiative aimed at permanently closing down open-air drug markets. The strategy, developed with assistance from the University of Memphis’ Center for Community Criminology and Research, targets individual drug markets using focused deterrence with transformational elements. The most violent offenders are targeted and prosecuted as examples.
The strategy then targets low-level offenders with no prior arrest history and stages an intervention with families, as well as community and faith-based leaders. These particular offenders are given the option to straighten up or face lengthy prison sentences and are provided assistance in locating employment, housing, health care, and access to other social services. Union Grove Baptist Church, 2285 Frayser Boulevard, has offered their “LIFELINE TO SUCCESS” ministry to serve as a community resource for the candidates and is providing connections to support the candidates in their efforts to turn away from crime.
United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton, III, stated, “The Drug Market Intervention program exemplifies our office’s ongoing cooperation with the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office, Memphis Police Department and the Frayser Community. Enforcement, prosecution, and incarceration are important tools in the fight against drug trafficking in our neighborhoods. But the DMI program helps us complement these tools through ground-level engagement with community leaders, family members of drug offenders, and other concerned citizens. The idea is to show drug offenders that we are serious about improving the quality of life for all of our citizens. They can either work with us towards that goal or face the consequences.”