‘In the House’ violent crime sting nets 35

 

GEORGETOWN — State law enforcement officials announced a massive string of arrests and indictments Thursday as a result of an operation described as proactively addressing violent crime issues in Kent and Sussex counties.

According to the Delaware State Police and Delaware Department of Justice, operation “In the House” resulted in charges against 35 men and women in what was described as an “organized criminal enterprise” involved in murder, racketeering, home invasion robbery, illegal weapons possession and distribution of illegal narcotics.

Six men were charged with first-degree murder after an alleged home invasion on Jan. 14, 2014, that left two Millsboro men dead. Steven Kellam, Richard Robinson, Rhamir D. Waples, Shamir A. Stratton, Damon Bethea and Carlton Gibbs also were charged with first-degree robbery, among other counts.

Rachel R. Rentoul, 30, of Wilmington, and Jackie Heverin, 24, of Millsboro, were charged with robbery-related offenses after allegedly helping to plan the fatal home invasion, State Police and the Department of Justice said in a joint news release.

The defendants allegedly involved in the murders and home invasion were indicted on June 22; authorities said investigation into possible related incidents is ongoing.

Mr. Waples, 19, and Mr. Robinson, 20, both of Philadelphia, are sought by authorities, along with Mr. Stratton, 24, of Pennsauken, New Jersey, officials said.

Mr. Gibbs, 40, of Millsboro, Mr. Bethea, 30, of Pennsauken, New Jersey, and Mr. Kellam, 34, of Dover are being held by the Department of Correction without bail, authorities said.

After planning began in February, authorities said the operation was launched on March 17, and organized by the State Police Troop 4 Major Crimes Unit and Homicide units, Sussex County Drug Unit and the Department of Justice.

In a statement, State Police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. said the operation netted suspects responsible for several violent crimes and statewide drug dealing.

“The arrest of these suspects will have a significant impact and will go a long way to improve the quality of life in the affected communities,” Col. McQueen said.

Coordinated efforts work

Several other State Police units and law enforcement agencies participated in the operation, including the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dover field office, U.S Marshals, Delaware Department of Correction, Dover Police Department, Georgetown Police Department and the Philadelphia Police Department.

“All of our agencies remain committed to working with our communities to reduce violent crime and drug trafficking throughout the state of Delaware,” Col. McQueen said.

A coordinated and wide ranging effort was needed to break up the large scale organized criminal network, said Attorney General Matt Denn, pointing to similar successful operations to take down drug operations in Kent and New Castle counties within the past several months.

According to authorities, the six men charged with murder allegedly had orchestrated Millsboro area home invasions targeting specific people believed to be distributing illegal narcotics in an armed quest for money and drugs.

Besides the alleged murders, another person was wounded during a gunfire exchanged during one home invasion, authorities said.

Through investigation, authorities said, the accused men were found to be allegedly connected to people in the heroin and drug trade in Sussex County. That led to the eventual arrest of Laurel resident Jackson Vanvorst, 34, who allegedly operated a large drug dealing operation that included heroin distribution.

Also, the probe discovered that two Harrington residents — Angelina Levan, 46, and James Johnson, 45, of Harrington — allegedly were supplying Mr. Vanvorst with large amounts of heroin.

Mr. Vanvorst also was charged with running a shoplifting ring that included sending drug users to steal certain items from multiple department, hardware and grocery stores. State police and DOJ alleged Mr. Vanvorst paid the shoplifters with drugs and sold the heisted merchandise.

Probe continues

Also discovered through the initial six men’s alleged crimes were relationships with several large scale cocaine dealers, authorities said.

According to law enforcement, Australia Mackey, 39, of Millsboro allegedly was running a Sussex County cocaine network distributing “crack” and powder-form drugs to numerous allegedly highly active drug dealers.

From that connection, Nathan Henry, Aaron Isler, Myricka Sampson, Leondious Gibbs, Corina Lloyd, Samuel Jones, Jermichael Deshields and Thomas Deshields were identified as suspects.

As investigation continued Tavon Biles, 32, of Rehoboth Beach and Zackery Bates, 31, of Smyrna were determined to allegedly be supplying Ms. Mackey with large amounts of cocaine, according to officials.

The opening phase of the “In the House” operation culminated with the execution of 25 search warrants throughout Kent and Sussex counties in the first week of May, authorities said.

State Police and the Department of Justice said 30 people were indicted by a Sussex County grand jury.

Authorities said the investigation netted 2,321.7 grams (more than 2 kilograms) of cocaine, 108.03 grams (more than 7,200 bags) of heroin, 7,921.65 grams of marijuana, .02 grams of methamphetamine, and 41 prescription narcotic pills.

Also seized by investigators was $135,310 in United States currency, 19 firearms and 15 vehicles.

Eight people are sought in connection with various alleged criminal offenses related to the investigation, authorities said.

Authorities asked anyone with information on the whereabouts of the wanted people to contact Sgt. G. Windish at 752-3814. Information also may be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP-3333, at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com, or texting an anonymous tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”

List of charges

Listed below are charges brought against 35 people after a joint investigation by the Delaware State Police and Delaware Department of Justice:

•Steven Kellam, 34, Dover, 81 charges, first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, racketeering, home invasion, first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (PFDCF), possession of a firearm by person prohibited (PFBPP), first- and second-degree conspiracy, first-degree reckless endangering, Tier 4 delivery of narcotics, wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony. Held without bail.

•Damon Bethea, 30, Pennsauken, N.J., 22 charges, first-degree murder, home invasion, first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted robbery, PFDCF, first- and second-degree conspiracy. Held without bail.

•Carlton Gibbs, 40, of Millsboro, 23 charges, first-degree murder, home invasion, first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted robbery, PFDCF, PFBPP, first- and second-degree conspiracy. Held without bail.

•Jackson Vanvorst, 34, of Laurel, 55 charges, Tier 5 possession of heroin, Tier 2 delivery of heroin, Tier 4 delivery of heroin, Tier 4 PWITD heroin, possession of cocaine, second-degree criminal solicitation, second-degree conspiracy, delivery of cocaine, PFBPP, delivery of heroin, possession of heroin.

•Australia Mackey, 39, of Millsboro, 62 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, Tier 4 PWITD cocaine, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Tavon Biles, 32, Rehoboth Beach, 14 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy.

•Zackary Bates, 31, of Smyrna, 3 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy.

•Angelina Levan, 46, Harrington, 15 charges, Tier 5 possession of heroin, Tier 4 delivery of heroin, second-degree conspiracy.

•James Johnson, 45, Harrington, 6 charges, Tier 5 possession of heroin, Tier 4 delivery of heroin, second-degree conspiracy.

•John E. Richardson, 30, Georgetown, 7 charges, Tier 5 possession of heroin, Tier 4 delivery of heroin, Tier 3 possession of heroin, Tier 2 delivery of heroin, second-degree conspiracy, maintaining a drug property.

•Ray Revel, 49, of Laurel, 4 charges, Tier 5 possession of heroin, Tier 4 delivery of heroin, second-degree conspiracy, possession of drug paraphernalia.

•Cornell B. Smith, 31, of Millsboro, 5 charges, Tier 5 possession of heroin, Tier 4 delivery of heroin, delivery of heroin, second-degree conspiracy,

•Thomas Deshields, 36, Millsboro, 10 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 PWITD of cocaine, delivery of cocaine, PWITD cocaine, possession of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Jermichael Deshields, 35, Millsboro, 11 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 PWITD cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Nathan Henry, 31, Georgetown, 12 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Leondious Gibbs, 29, Millsboro, 6 charges,-Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 PWITD of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, PFBPP, possession of drug paraphernalia.

•Aaron D. Isler, 34, Ellendale, 8 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Anthony Hopkins, 53, Milton, 12 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Corina Lloyd, 40, Millsboro, 8 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Myricka A. Sampson, 33, Harbeson of Harbeson, 12 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Desirae A. Hammel, 24, 2 charges, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy.

•Perry Butler, 51, Greenwood, 6 charges, Tier 4 possession of Oxycodone, second-degree criminal solicitation, second-degree conspiracy, possession of Oxycodone.

•Kevin Worrell, 35, Lewes, 4 charges, PFBPP, possession of cocaine, second-degree criminal solicitation, second-degree conspiracy.

•Daniel Godwin, 28, Georgetown, 3 charges, possession of heroin, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Angela Brown, 43, Dover, 2 charges, delivery of Oxycodone, second-degree conspiracy.

•Sheri Chalfant, 52, Laurel, 2 charges, delivery of heroin, second-degree conspiracy.

•Domonique Johnson, 20, Ellendale, 3 charges, possession of heroin, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

Arrest warrants have been obtained for:

•Rhamir D. Waples, 19, Philadelphia, 81 charges, first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, racketeering, home invasion, first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted robbery, PFDCF, second-degree conspiracy, first-degree reckless endangering, wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony.

•Richard Robinson, 20, Philadelphia, 81 charges, first-degree murder, first-degree attempted murder, racketeering, home invasion, first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted robbery, PFDCF, second-degree conspiracy, first-degree reckless endangering, wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony.

•Shamir A. Stratton, 24, Pennnsauken, N.J., 22 charges, first-degree murder, home invasion, first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted robbery, PFDCF, first- and second-degree conspiracy.

•Rachel R. Rentoul, 30, Wilmington, 13 charges, home invasion, PFDCF, first-degree robbery, second-degree conspiracy.

•Jacquelyn Heverin, 24, Millsboro, 13 charges, home invasion, PFDCF, first-degree robbery, second-degree conspiracy.

•Dean R. Zerden, 47, Millsboro, 3 charges, possession of cocaine, second-degree criminal solicitation, second-degree conspiracy.

•Samuel J. Jones, 34, Millsboro, 12 charges, Tier 5 possession of cocaine, Tier 4 delivery of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

•Thomas Tallent, 29, Georgetown, 3 charges, possession of heroin, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal solicitation.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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