Detroit men out on bail
Police say Motown gangs make local inroads
By JOE GORMAN Tribune Chronicle
POSTED: January 22, 2010
WARREN - The two Detroit men shot Tuesday night on Washington Street N.E.
were out on bail on drug charges, police said. And their presence in the
Mahoning and Shenango valleys is part of a trend law enforcement officials
say they do not like.
Police had yet to make any arrests Thursday in the death of Michael Travis,
30, and the wounding of Christopher Davis, 39.
Travis was found shot to death in a parking lot on Washington Street N.E.
about 10:25 p.m. Tuesday, while Davis drove himself to Forum Health Trumbull
Memorial Hospital to be treated for his wounds.
Davis has not been cooperative, police said.
Both men were free on $40,000 bonds they posted in September after being
arrested in a heroin raid on West Market Street by members of the Trumbull
Ashtabula Group drug task force. Ten adults were bound over to Trumbull
County Common Pleas Court and all but two made bail.
In November, another series of raids in Warren were targeted at heroin
dealers with Detroit roots. Court records show of seven people who were
arrested in that case on drug trafficking charges, six have yet to make
Trumbull County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Orr, the head of the task force, said
several people from the Detroit area who come to the area to sell drugs.
Typically, those dealers use a rental home and hook up with a woman to help
them there, paying them in either money or drugs.
''When they can't do business there, they'll go somewhere else,'' Orr said.
For years, drug dealers from Detroit have come and gone in the area, he
said. Some come because they have family members here and stay while others
go back and forth, he said.
''There's always been a Detroit presence here,'' Orr said.
Sharon, Pa., police Chief Michael Menster said that in the last year and a
half to two years, gangs from Detroit dealing crack cocaine have been making
inroads into his city and other communities in the Shenango Valley just over
the state line.
There have been several incidents of violence accompanying them, Menster
said. He said he thinks they have come to Sharon from Detroit because there
is less competition and they can make more money.
Orr said that is similar in Trumbull County, where people from Detroit are
dealing in heroin instead of crack cocaine.
Law enforcement agencies have teamed up to combat the gangs from Detroit,
Menster said. Several local police forces banded together with the
Pennsylvania State Police, the state attorney general's office and federal
agencies to form task forces to tackle the problem, and there have been
several arrests and indictments, he said.