Detroit gang members are terrorizing two West Virginia communities with violence and drugs.
More than 350 miles from home, Detroiters are selling pills, heroin, cocaine and marijuana at an alarming rate in Charleston and Huntington.
On Wednesday in Charleston, four Detroiters are in jail following two separate shootings in which one teenager was killed and a bystander was wounded.
Since December, authorities have arrested at least 15 Detroiters for selling large amounts of heroin.
In one day in March, police arrested seven Detroit men accused of selling heroin and prescription painkillers in Huntington, population 49,160.
In December, police raided a Huntington apartment and arrested two Detroiters who were found with $80,000 in heroin.
Of the five murders in Huntington in 2013, four were tied to Detroit.
Drug dealers from Detroit have set up shop in West Virginia for more than a decade. But authorities have reported a disturbing uptick of violence in recent months as members of the Seven Mile Bloods, Cash Out Crips and Hustle Boys bring drugs to two communities with a seemingly insatiable demand for heroin and painkillers.
“Their job is to go to whatever town or city they’re dispatched to and just sell drugs,” Lt. Cooper told WSAZ.
West Virginia has enlisted the help of the FBI, which has led to stiff sentences in federal prison for drug dealers from Detroit.
In November 2013, Jeron Gaskin, 21, of Detroit was sentenced to 30 years in prison on three counts of drug trafficking.
“This drug trafficking conviction sends a strong message that these crimes will not be tolerated in our communities,” FBI Special Agent in Charge D. Foley said .
Residents expressed frustrations on social media:
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.