Charlotte police and federal drug officials on Friday rounded up nine men and the matriarch of a family selling cocaine and marijuana in the Enderly Park neighborhood.
Enderly Park is an old Charlotte neighborhood of small homes west of Uptown that's become rough over the years as original residents have passed away and their homes have gone up for rent. CMPD Lieutenant Blake Hollar says 70-year-old Mary Falls exploited that trend to move a bunch of relatives onto her block.
Which basically set up a really bad situation where you then had basically an extended family all living within a hundred yards of each other, all heavily involved in the drug trade.
Residents complained there were so many cars lined up to buy drugs they couldn't drive down the street. Break-ins and assaults were common. Two people were killed in the neighborhood last year – including a 13-year-old boy.
Lieutenant Hollar says police would catch one drug dealer, "but then you would have four or five who would still have the houses there and you'd still have the extended family there."
So CMPD got federal authorities involved and launched a six-month investigation called Operation Enderly Park. The increased police presence was a relief, says neighborhood association president Franklin Emmanuel.
"Almost every hour, you see them coming through, driving through, observing," says Emmanuel.
And Friday morning, police moved in on Falls and her family. The 70-year-old matriarch was arrested for facilitating the drug business and nine men ranging in age from 23 to 48 were booked on conspiracy to distribute marijuana and cocaine.