3 more admit roles in drug ring run by Atlantic City gang
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Three more people have admitted roles in a heroin ring that authorities say was run by a street gang that used threats, intimidation and violence to maintain control of Atlantic City's illegal drug trade.
Federal prosecutors say 31-year-old Franklin Simms and 34-year-old Rayshell Strong, both of Atlantic City, and 31-year-old Latasha Cherry, of Millville, entered their pleas Friday. They now face lengthy prison terms when they are sentenced in September.
Simms and Strong admitted that from October 2012 through March 2013, they conspired to distribute between 400 and 700 grams of heroin. Cherry admitted that she conspired with others to launder some of the ring's proceeds by transferring cash onto reloadable prepaid debit cards.
Prosecutors say the three were members of a street gang known as "Dirty Block," `'Crime Fam," `'18.104.22.168," or "3.6." They say the gang controlled heroin sales through gun violence, including at least one homicide.
Authorities say ring members distributed heroin in and around several public housing complexes in Atlantic City. Thirty-four people were accused of roles in the ring, and so far 23 have either been convicted or pleaded guilty to various charges.
Simms pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute heroin and possessing 100 grams or more of heroin with the intent to distribute. Strong pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute a detectable amount of heroin, while Cherry pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in money laundering.