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Published October 23 2012

Authorities bust drug-trafficking ring involving gang members

FARGO – Six people are charged in federal court here, and two more are expected to be, in connection with an alleged drug-trafficking organization that federal, state and local authorities have been investigating since May 2011, court records show.

Two of the suspects are members of violent Minneapolis-area street gangs, the Gangster Disciples and the Vice Lords, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in Clay County District Court.

The investigation has involved authorities from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Cass County Drug Task Force.

Federal arrest warrants were issued Oct. 3 for eight people allegedly involved in the drug ring.

By Oct. 15, all but two were in custody.

The next day, the BCA searched a Moorhead apartment in the 500 block of 32nd Avenue South and arrested Brodrick Jamar Jenkins.

Still at large as of late Tuesday afternoon was Marvale Xavier Murphy, who was seen at the same apartment as recently as Oct. 14, the affidavit states.

Jenkins and five others – Stephanie Buchanan, Theresa Marie Otis, Ardell Levert Jenkins, Mardale Deshaun Johnson and Amber Nicole Lockwood – have been charged in U.S. District Court in Fargo with conspiracy to possess controlled substances with intent to distribute and distributing the drugs. A jury trial is set for Dec. 18.

The other two defendants aren’t named in the federal court docket and won’t be until they are taken into custody and make their first court appearance.

Besides Murphy, the only person listed in the affidavit who hasn’t been charged is the woman whose apartment was targeted in the Oct. 16 search. She’s believed to have assisted Brodrick Jenkins with distributing drugs by giving him transportation and a place to stay, the affidavit states.

Details of the charges won’t become public until all of the defendants have appeared in federal court.

The affidavit states that “numerous” confidential sources and witnesses reported that Brodrick Jenkins was involved in transporting and storing firearms and using them in drug-related activities.

Jenkins is an identified member of the Gangster Disciples and has a violent criminal history that includes firearms possession, domestic assault by strangulation and armed robbery, according to the affidavit signed by BCA Special Agent Orie Oksendahl. Murphy is an identified member of the Vice Lords, the affidavit states.

Jenkins’ attorney, Steven Mottinger, was on vacation Tuesday and unavailable for comment, his office said. Representatives from the DEA and BCA didn’t return messages.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Shasky, who is prosecuting the case, said it involves trafficking primarily of crack cocaine but also includes powder cocaine, heroin, marijuana and oxycodone.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528