Agents Hunt Drug Suspects
BY WILLIAM TREML News Staff Reporter
The 10-week-long federal investigation into narcotics sales in the Ann Arbor area continued today as agents sought out the remainder of 55 persons listed as peddlers in warrants obtained this week.
Police Chief Waller E. Krasny and Theodore L. Vernier, regional director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in Detroit, said two more suspects were apprehended Thursday night, including Paul Bryant of Ann Arbor. The officers said about 40 of the 55 warrants have now been served and those arrested are being processed through U.S. District Court in Detroit.
One of the suspects, Ricky Lasiter, 23, of Ann Arbor, was back in the city Thursday night after being released on personal recognizance. However, others are being held pending posting of bond. John Pena, 31, who agents say directed a $250,000-a-year drug operation from a house at 1666 Broadway, was ordered to post a $50,000 bond. The same bond was set for Randy Weills, 23, who officers say trafficked in narcotics under Pena’s direction.
Saad Kakos, a 20-year-old hairdresser from Oak Park, had a $25,000 bond set and Joseph Bruton, 25, from near Hamburg in Livingston County must post .$10,000 to be free pending trial.
Although Ann Arbor Mayor Albert Wheeler Thursday criticized the secrecy of the massive drug investigation, Chief Krasny said his office has received favorable reaction from citizens. He said some callers are volunteering information on narcotic sales in the city and that data are being passed on to federal agents.
Concerning the secrecy of the federal investigation, Krasny said few officers in his own department were aware of the probe.
“I've got majors and captains who are miffed because they weren't told,’’ the chief said. “But this was a very delicate operation and there was real concern about the safety of undercover agents. The fact is the more people who know about something like this the more chance there is for a leak to develop.”
Director Vernier said Thursday, only stern prison sentences, regularly given out, would discourage the drug trade.
“Swift, sure, fixed, go-to-jail law would be a deterrent to this business,” Vernier said. “If these people know they can get off lightly, that they won’t have to spend time in jail, they’ll continue to peddle. Why shouldn’t they. There’s tremendous profit in selling narcotics. And with the risk removed or made minimal they’ll keep selling.”
He said at one time the state of Ohio was a major area of narcotics trade with Cleveland supplying Detroit dealers.
“Then they passed a 20-to-life sentence for sale and the judges began applying it. The drug trade dried up there. The certainty of punishment is always a deterrent," Vernier said.
A resident of 2530 S. Main Street told The News today that one of the suspects arrested Wednesday, James Moscara, 25-year-old Sheriff’s Department dog warden, does not live at that address. The resident says Moscara’s mail sometimes still comes to that number but that the sheriff’s employee has not lived there for some time. Federal agents said the address was the one they had listed for Moscara.
Pot Law Fight Looms
An attempt to place Ann Arbor’s $5 marijuana law on next April’s general election ballot will be made by City Council Republicans Monday night.
Republican Councilman Robert L. Henry Jr. says two special measures will be offered for council’s consideration, one complimenting police .officials for the drug raid Wednesday, and the second putting the pot law on the ballot for a second vote.
The $5 pot penalty was approved by city voters in 1974, but came under attack by federal drug agents this week for leading to other drug problems in Ann Arbor.
William B. Treml
Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
Elections - Ann Arbor
Ann Arbor Police Department
Ann Arbor City Council
Ann Arbor - Mayor
Ann Arbor News
Walter E. Krasny
Theodore L. Vernier
Robert L. Henry Jr.
Albert H. Wheeler