21 Jun 2010

Potomac Gardens Drug Bust Yields 15 Arrests

Image originally uploaded to flickr by Null Value.

A hard drug ring with possible gang affiliations operating in the Potomac Gardens Housing Complex on G and 12/13th Streets SE off of Pennsylvania Avenue SE , as well as other area  neighborhoods in D.C. was broken, or at least severely  interrupted.  Fifteen individuals were arrested, according to a joint press release issued in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s office, the MPD, the FBI and the U.S. Park Police, who all worked together on the arrests as part of a long-term a task force combating gangs, drugs and violence. The bust yielded heroin, cocaine, guns, scales and other drug trafficking paraphernalia and was described as significant by the MPD1 Commander David Kamperin.

Law enforcement officers from the MPD, FBI, and the U.S. Park Police, executed a series of arrest and search warrants in the District and Prince George’s County in the early morning hours of June 17th, according to the press release.

The arrests came out of a series of federal and D.C. Superior Court indictments a week earlier charging 17 individuals with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute over $230,000 worth of heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine, within D.C. and Maryland.

Potomac Gardens has a long history of being a hotbed of drugs and crime, documented with much hand-wringing over the years in  newspaper articles dating back decades, and little seems to have improved there. News articles and even a paperback fiction book like to point out the nefarious activities happening a mere “12 blocks” from the nation’s capitol. Even as the area has gentrified, Potomac Gardens still seems to be or have been a serious center for drug and gang activity, with innocent residents in the complex often severely affected and rendered helpless.  A proposed protest march on the complex a couple of years ago to protest perceived crime activity harbored there drew criticism on how gentrifiers would be storming Section 8 housing. The property is owned by the D.C. Housing Authority.

This prosecution grew out of a long-term FBI/MPD/U.S. Park Police alliance called the Safe Streets Task Force that  targets violent drug trafficking gangs in D.C.  The Safe Streets Initiative is funded in part by the Washington/ Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area as well as the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.  By working through a task force, investigators can focus on the entire criminal enterprise, instead of prosecution of individual gang members, the press release stated.

Specifically confiscated during this investigation were:

  • Approximately 859 grams of Heroin
  • Approximately 64 grams of Crack Cocaine
  • Approximately 231 grams of powder Cocaine
  • U. S. Currency totaling $8,000.00
  • Two (2) semi-automatic handguns
  • Digital Scales
  • Approximately 10 cellular telephones
  • Drug Paraphernalia

Two individuals remain at large. The defendants began making their initial appearances on the charges June 18th in the U.S. District Court and D.C. Superior Court for the District of Columbia.  If convicted, the defendants face sentences from five years to up to 30  years in jail.


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5 responses to “Potomac Gardens Drug Bust Yields 15 Arrests”

  1. G-Man says:

    Suprise, suprise!

  2. lonnie says:

    This is nothing new, what is new the way the do things. with all those people u cought c if u can make the charges STICK> wonderful job. Question that we all should ask , is did they do there job by the book or did they lie or pin charges or even plant drugs on any of these people, dc is quite know to do, just for an arrest…….

  3. dbot 19 says:

    let ’em loose!

  4. CapitolHillResident says:


    Right now there is a status quo so to speak. Both parties are relatively unhappy. The “wealthy” Capitol Hill home owners are unhappy with the crime and the effects of the Potomac Gardens eyesore on their property values, and the Potomac Gardens residents are not happy that they have to perpetually rely on government assistance.

    Perhaps in this particular situation, a creative solution that offers a win win scenario for ALL involved would be best. This idea treads on a slippery slope in some regards, but it may be the only way to move through this minefield.

    I propose that the city (under partnership with a developer) offer residents of the Potomac Gardens complex a buyout offer for the units they currently live in, in return for their commitment to permanently move out of the complex. The offer would be put to a simple majority vote of the residents living at the complex. These former Potomac Garden residents would then be free to choose a better living situation that works for their individual circumstances (perhaps even home ownership).

    Since Potomac Gardens is comprised of 352 units, the total cost for buying out the Potomac Gardens residents would run in the millions.

    The city would buy the property from the current owner at a slight premium to market value. With the property now free for redevelopment and in the city’s hands, the city would allow the developer to develop a large scale project as follows:

    1)Demolish the entire current complex of buildings and temporarily replace it with park space while redevelopment plans are formalized.

    2)Option to build one mixed use mega development project, OR sell off individual parcels of land

    3)Include park or other outdoor gathering spaces equal to 1/4th of the total ground floor square footage.

    4)Construct townhouses or retail that is consistent with capital hill architecture

    If there were any issues with redevelopment feasibility, the developer could be offered tax credits by the city.

    Everyone wins 🙂

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