Federal Raid in Des Moines Grabs Six on Heroin Charges

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Instead of a peaceful morning walk to Hoover High School, sophomore Kenny Tran woke up to something resembling a war zone.

"I see squad cars and I believe military personnel. People in camouflage holding assault rifles and snipers outside. I was shocked," he said.

Federal and local law enforcement raided three homes early Friday morning.  One in Tran's neighborhood at 1530 16th Street, a second at 1336 East 16th Street, and a third at an apartment complex at 2400 Hickman Road.

"Looking outside my moms window I see cops pouring out of the house," said Tran. "I was confused and shocked."

A criminal complaint report used for search warrants on all three locations, says an investigation began last July. That's when a confidential informant notified the Mid-Iowa Narcotics Enforcement Task Force that a group of men were purchasing heroin from Chicago and selling it in Des Moines.

Tran said, "They seemed pretty normal. We'd go outside in the gardens and say hi, but I don't understand why that would happen."

Through ten heroin transactions from a confidential informant and seven trash pulls where they found traces of heroin, cocaine and marijuana in Ziploc baggies, investigators were able to charge six Des Moines men with distribution of heroin.  The six include Bruce Edward McGee, 26, Charles Junior Sims, 26, Earl Deangelo Smith, Bernard Calvin Stigler, 28, and Artellious Demond Young, 22, all from Des Moines.  They also arrested George Lamar Stigler of Johnston.

"Really like sadness for what happened." said Tran.

Residents at the East 16th Street home that was also raided refused to comment when Channel 13 attempted to speak with them.

Tran says it's not the first time police blocked off his street.  In May, a drive-by shooting at the same place as the Friday raid sent one man to the hospital.

"It shook me that there was a drive-by because there were kids, there was a barbecue," Tran added.

In that shooting, police arrested Devonte Colbert from Chicago, the same city where those involved in the raid purchased their heroin.

Tran said, "I guess yeah, like puzzle pieces fitting together."

Three more people were charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Peter Marcus Greene, 45, Clinton Ossie Taylor, 41, and Artell Jamaryo Young, 25, are all Des Moines residents.