By Alvin Benn
SELMA -- Twelve suspected drug dealers were arrested and others sought Wednesday after an early morning sweep through a neighborhood said to have been held captive.
Authorities said the arrests were made without incident with some of those indicted picked up while they were walking around the neighborhood.
Larry Cooper of the U.S. Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said more than 150 officers took part in the neighborhood sweep .
"We will not stand by while victims are held captive in their neighborhoods," Rhodes said. "Those who commit drug and gun crimes can expect to do hard time."
Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson said those arrested and being sought had acted with "impunity" in the east Selma neighborhood "where they stopped cars out in the open to sell their drugs."
"The reign of terror on St. Phillips Street has slowed down," Jackson said at a news conference outside Selma's Federal Building.
Indicted were Derrick Andre Daniels, 35; Otto Davion Thompson, 25; Anthony Bernard Daniels, 26; Christopher Ford, 24; Frank Jeffery McGill, 29; Kashif Deondre Norwood, 26; Kordell Sharp, 19; Kevin Javon Moore, 25; Terrance Keoki Callen, 27; Darrell O'Neal Thompson, 28; Jakarta Algernon Bonner and Kenneth Taiwon Moore.
Those arrested were taken to Mobile where they were booked before arraignment later this week.
Federal officials said other suspected drug dealers were being sought following their indictments. They were not named.
If convicted on all the charges against them, those indicted could be sentenced to prison terms up to life, Rhodes said.
Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. thanked authorities involved in the 15-month-long investigation, but said they should not stop with those named in the indictments.
"People want an upward trail of drug trafficking that leads to bankers, brokers and mega-deals," Perkins said, adding there are "legal ways" of making a living in Selma.
Horray for Mayor James Perkins Jr. who is basically pointing out that this amounts to nothing more than new job openings on St. Phillips Street in Selma, AL. He knows that taking 12 young black men off the street and placing them in our already dangerously overcrowed prison system will do nothing to stem the flow of drugs in Selma.
I like to think I had something to do with that. Back in March I addressed The National Convention of Black Mayors in Selma on the eve of 41st Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and I focused specifically on how the drug war is undoing everything the Black community gained in the Civil Rights Movement and how if they don't do something soon there won't be enough of them left with their voting rights intact to be able to make a difference in politics.
While Mayor Perkins may not yet see that the laws themselves are the problem he at least sees that all of this posturing and grandstanding by the feds and local cops about the arrest of 12 young, black, low-level street offenders is bullshit because it is the rich white men in business suits who are the real 'kingpins' in the drug trade.
And this is what I pointed out in my speech. The drug war is designed to marginalize minorities and others the 'government' considers 'undesirable'. They will never take out the big fish because then there would be no small fish to fill up the prison system.