The Summit/Akron HIDTA task force, agents from the DEA Cleveland Resident Office, along with numerous federal, state, and local law enforcement officers, arrested Garland V. Phelps Jr. and Alonzo B. Sykes, with 20 other individuals on January 14, resulting in the dismantlement of a heroin trafficking organization.

Since 2012, the Phelps/Sykes organization distributed multiple kilograms of heroin per month in Akron, Ohio.  To date, this 15-month SOD-supported PTO/OCDETF investigation, dubbed Operation Rapped Up, has resulted in the indictment of 20 individuals and the seizure of 1,292 grams of heroin,136 grams of crack cocaine, 9,500 MDMA pills, $83,000 in U.S. currency, firearms, and real and personal property valued at $53,000 dollars.

The DEA Cleveland RO conducted this investigation with assistance from the Chicago Division Office, BATFE, the FBI, Summit County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office; and the police departments of Akron, Barberton, Copley, New Franklin, Reminderville, Springfield Township, Stow, and University of Akron, Ohio.

Recent drug trafficking trends being observed in the domestic United States have shown a significant increase in the distribution and abuse of heroin. Largely due to a spike in the price of cocaine, this trend applies to the Akron, Ohio area as well. Also, due to major law enforcement investigations and arrests which have taken place locally in the past couple of years, investigators have observed a power struggle within the narcotics community.  This has resulted in an influx of heroin and other narcotics not traditionally observed in wholesale amounts in the Akron, Ohio area, as well as several narcotics related shootings and murders.  Garland V. Phelps Jr. was one of the individuals using these techniques in an attempt to “climb the ladder.”

Through traditional investigative techniques investigators have identified a group of individuals working in concert, distributing wholesale quantities of heroin in the Akron, Ohio, area. Currently, it is believed, Garland V. Phelps Jr. obtains the bulk of his narcotics through a relationship with Alonzo B. Sykes.

These arrests by themselves won’t rid heroin from the streets of Akron and/or other suburban communities as heroin related deaths continue to rise not only in Northeast Ohio, but throughout the U.S.  Several local law enforcement agencies have declared heroin as an “epidemic” an growing concern for law enforcement as “it” (heroin) does not discriminate against race, gender, location (inner city to suburban communities), and level of income.  An investigation of this nature to include making arrests and dismantling organizations is a step in the right direction, which is benefit to the local community.