Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sophisticated burglaries, drug dealings and other crimes. And prosecutors say a family gang operating out of an auto repair shop is behind it all.
Rochelle Ritchie has more on this complex case involving federal agents and local police.
This investigation began last summer. Many of those indicted are blood relatives who investigators say used their family owned business to run a lucrative drug operation.
WJZ cameras roll as another man is taken into custody after federal agents file charges against 16 people said to be part of a large drug dealing operation.
“As a result of today’s operation, we now have about 35 firearms off the streets, which is hugely important,” said Gary Tuggle, DEA.
Federal agents say David Paschall used his auto body shop for more than fixing cars.
They say, on a daily basis, customers looking to get high or make money could come to the shop to purchase oxycodone, percocet, methadone, even cocaine and heroin.
“If you are bringing drugs into our city, we will find you. And we will use all of our resources at our disposal and all of our partners throughout the region to find you,” said Jerry Rodriguez, Deputy Commissioner, Baltimore City Police.
Paschall’s wife, his two sons and a nephew are also accused of being part of an illegal operation.
Close friends–stunned at the police activity.
“They’ve been my neighbors for awhile. We’d go out on the boat every once and awhile, we’d play cards, stuff like that,” said John Rasmussen. “Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined anything like this.”
Investigators say the drug operation involved more than dope. A number of home invasions and commercial robberies, even arson, were all part of the deal.
“Break into ATMs, remove safes and also steal property that was… cigarettes and things like that that were in the stores,” said Stephen Schenning, U.S. Attorney.
These crimes–crossing state lines. From Maryland to Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and D.C.
The family run business profited $1 million from robberies and $2 million from illegal drug sales.
David Paschall was also arrested on a felony drug charge in 2009.
Twelve of the sixteen people indicted are in federal custody.