MNPD Detectives Assigned to Drug Task Force Target Major Cocaine Organization
March 20, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A six-month investigation into the lucrative upper echelon of a Nashville cocaine distribution network led to Thursday’s seizure of more than 50 kilograms (in excess of 100 pounds) of Mexican cocaine valued at nearly $2 million. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash has also been seized, as well as 20 vehicles, 2 motorcycles, and 13 guns. Nine persons are jailed locally on charges of engaging in a cocaine conspiracy. They are being held in lieu of $500,000 bond each.
“The cocaine seized in this investigation posed a real and significant threat to public safety in the neighborhoods where it was to be distributed,” Chief Steve Anderson said. “Drug operations such as this frequently breed violent crime, including armed robberies and gunfire, as persons try to acquire a cut of the large sums of money associated with kilo quantities of cocaine.”
All totaled, this case has resulted in the seizure of 75.5 kilograms of cocaine valued in excess of $2.6 million from locations in the Nashville area and Dallas, Texas. More than 20 search warrants were executed Thursday in the local area.
"Congratulations to the Metro officers on the Drug Task Force, along with Assistant District Attorney Ed Ryan who is assigned to assist them, for their excellent work to keep drugs off our streets and make Nashville a safer place to live,” said District Attorney General Glenn Funk.
This investigation, conducted by Metro police detectives assigned to the 20th Judicial District Drug Task Force, initially focused on convicted Nashville drug felon Lasean Jamaine Campbell, 41, of 4824 Irving Lane in Donelson, now an alleged multi-kilo distributor of cocaine to mid-level dealers. As the case advanced, detectives were able to identify Ivan D. Nunez, 33, of Sam Davis Road in Smyrna, as the alleged supplier to Campbell. Nunez, originally from Mexico, is a convicted cocaine felon who received a 10-year community corrections sentence in 2011.
Nunez is alleged to have been assisted in the cocaine business by Artemio Novarro, 30, and Edwin Garcia, 23, both originally from Mexico, but who have been residing at 4523 Central Pike, just inside Wilson County. A search of that home Thursday led to the discovery of cocaine and stacks of cash concealed inside an entertainment console.
Fifty kilograms of cocaine were discovered Thursday inside a 2426 Brick Church Pike self-storage unit alleged to have been rented by Campbell.
Nunez is alleged to have been supplying two other large scale cocaine customers in addition to Campbell. Those two are identified as Troy Knight, 43, of 2437 Herman Street, and Howard Dowell, 42, of 1720 Comanche Run in Madison.
Three other persons charged are linked to Campbell’s operations. Robert Mitchell, 37, of 734 Willow Trace Drive, is alleged to have been a Campbell protégé in the cocaine enterprise. Damion L. Horton, 37, of 2875 Creekbend Drive, and Leonard Cortez Rucker, 37, of 203 N. 8th Street, are alleged to have assisted in getting cocaine from Campbell to the streets of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.
Based on information developed by Metro detectives, U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigators executed a search warrant in Dallas, Texas, Thursday and seized 11 kilograms of cocaine, $10,000 cash and made two arrests.
Additionally, on March 9, the MNPD stopped an associate of Nunez on I-40 west as that person was leaving the area. Seized from the vehicle were 4 kilograms of cocaine and $317,200 cash.
Other law enforcement entities assisting in this investigation include detectives from the MNPD’s Specialized Investigations Division, Crime Suppression Units from various precincts, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, TBI, Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Smyrna Police and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.
This case represents Nashville’s largest cocaine seizure since January 2008, when 70 kilograms of cocaine were seized from a private airplane at Nashville International Airport.
Lasean Jamaine Campbell, 41
Ivan D. Nunez, 33
Artemio Novarro, 30
Edwin Garcia, 23
Troy Knight, 43
Howard Dowell, 42
Robert Mitchell, 37
Damion L. Horton, 37
Leonard Cortez Rucker, 37
SEARCH WARRANTS RELATING TO COCAINE CASE
4824 Irving Lane – Residence of Lasean Campbell – Seized cash, 3 vehicles, jewelry
721 Due West Ave #B112 – Distribution location and numbers (gambling) count location
alleged to be tied to Robert Mitchell and Lasean Campbell – Seized cash
2426 Brick Church Pike – Storage units of Lasean Campbell & Robert Mitchell – Seized 50.86
kilograms of cocaine, cash
3337 Moorewood Drive – Alleged stash location of Lasean Campbell – Seized 1 vehicle
734 Willow Trace Drive – Residence of Robert Mitchell – Seized 2 vehicles, cash
2931 Hillhurst Drive – Residence of Damion Horton’s mother – Seized 3 kilograms of cocaine, 2
assault-type rifles, 2 bulletproof vests, drug paraphernalia, 1 Harley Davidson motorcycle
2875 Creekbend Drive – Residence of Damion Horton – Seized 1 handgun, 636 grams cocaine,
drug paraphernalia, cash
1105 38th Ave N – Residence of Leonard Rucker’s family – Seized jewelry, cash
203 N 8th St #103 – Leonard Rucker’s residence – Seized 1 handgun, cash
548 Rothwood Drive – Residence of Donald Trammell – (suspect still at-large) – Seized 2.15
kilos cocaine, 1 handgun, cash
4429 Winton Drive – Residence of Lasean Campbell’s sister – Seized cash
804 Curtis Drive – Residence of the soon to be father-in-law of Lasean Campbell – Seized 124
grams cocaine, 9mm rifle, drug paraphernalia, 1 vehicle
4523 Central Pike (Wilson Co) – Residence of Novarro and Garcia and primary deal location for
Nunez – Seized 3.57 kilos cocaine, 2 handguns, drug paraphernalia, cash, 3 vehicles (2 with built
in traps for hiding drugs & cash )
4100 Central Pike #522 – Off-load location allegedly maintained by Nunes, Garcia, and Novarro
– Seized 1 vehicle, 1 motorcycle, drug paraphernalia
12344 Old Hickory Blvd – Vacant residence owned by family of Novarro – Seized 1 vehicle
500 Sam Davis Rd #D-29, Smyrna – Residence of Ivan Nunez – Seized cash, 1 vehicle, and
electronic counter-surveillance equipment
422 Barking Drive, Smyrna – Residence of an associate of Nunez, Novarro, and Garcia) – Seized
1 rifle, 1 shotgun
2437-A Herman St – Residence of Troy Knight – Seized 90 grams cocaine, cash, 1 handgun
3805 Park Ave – Residence of Troy Knight’s family – Seized 3 vehicles
1720 Comanche Run – Residence of Howard Dowell – Seized 2 vehicles, cash, jewelry