Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Local gang's No. 2 man charged, eludes police

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati police are looking for a man the chief says is the No. 2 boss of the Tot Lot Posse, a gang at the center of a federal drug investigation.

Jimmar Long, 21, of the West End, is wanted on charges of selling drugs, receiving stolen property and illegally having weapons. The department's Street Corner undercover drug unit searched his house April 9, finding a safe, scales to weigh drugs, a rifle, two pistols and cocaine.

But they can't find him.

"He's certainly one of the top players in the Tot Lot,'' Chief Tom Streicher said Monday. "He's very near the top."

Neither Cincinnati police officials, the FBI nor U.S. Attorney Greg Lockhart will reveal the names of the gang members targeted by the federal investigation. The three agencies have worked together on an investigation that Streicher has said would be monumental in dismantling the group police say is responsible for much of the crime in the West End and in other neighborhoods.

The city and federal officials have been somewhat at odds over the investigation. Mayor Charlie Luken wrote a letter last month to Lockhart's office, saying the yearlong investigation had taken too much time and left potentially violent people on the streets to commit more crime.

Lockhart's office said such investigations take time and that his prosecutors were proceeding as quickly as they could. The federal grand jury next meets Wednesday.

Long had been in the Hamilton County Justice Center last month on a charge of trafficking in marijuana but was let out on $10,000 bond. He has since been indicted on the charge and is due back in court Monday.

He was sent to prison in 2001 for 10 months for carrying a concealed weapon. He was put on three years' intensive probation that same year after pleading guilty to preparing marijuana for sale. A judge ordered him then to maintain a job or do 300 hours of community service.

Long was sent back to prison last year for possession of cocaine after an officer said he dropped a bag of crack cocaine. Earlier this month, the police department and county prosecutor's office split $1,977 that officers seized from Long in late 2002.

Police ask anyone who knows Long's whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040.

"It's just a matter of somebody talking,'' Streicher said.


E-mail jprendergast@enquirer.com

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