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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- Federal officials tell Fox 41 News that they've broken up the largest cocaine ring in Louisville history.
It's a story Fox 41 News has known about for more than a month, but has opted not to report until now in order to protect the investigation.
Now, in a story you'll see only on Fox 41, federal agents explain how an investigation that involved the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the U.S. Marshals and the U.S. Attorney's Office is leading the prosecution of a Louisville drug cartel that involved over $3.5 million in cash, 40 kilos of cocaine, weapons and at least 26 suspects.
Money, drugs and enough firepower to fight a small war: federal agents say it was all in the hands of some of these men.
This was one of the largest cocaine distribution organizations in Louisville history," said Thomas Gorman, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). "The organization was capable of moving a hundred keys of cocaine every month and they did this for the last two years."
Gorman says the organization was operating like a business.
"I mean, a typical organization," he said. "It's a hierarchy...it's like a business...so you have a CEO and then you have various levels under that."
And if that's the case, federal officials say Michael Mccarthy Jr. was the CEO -- with lots of employees.
"These are lieutenants," Gorman said, pointing to various of McCarthy Jr.'s accomplices. "They may be in charge of distributing...they may have their own customers...so it all filters down through the organization."
The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) also took down a small arsenal of weapons and believe -- without question -- that these suspects would have used them.
"If you are going to carry these types of weapons...that means you are going to use them if need be and they intended to protect their drugs and money," said Paul Vido with the ATF.
And according to authorities, there was a lot to protect. They say the images to the right of this story demonstrate the amount of cash and cocaine they were trying to protect.
"At one point during this investigation we became aware of a car that was moving a large amount of money," said Gorman. "We stopped that vehicle and found $3.5 million inside the vehicle."
Louisville attorney Frank Mascagni III represents the alleged ring leader and says he doesn't fit the profile of someone who is the head of a drug cartel.
"Those are the allegations by the United States," Mascagni said. "If you met Mike, you would think that he's just a real nice...soft spoken young man."
"It is shocking that a man this age with no prior criminal record is alleged to be ... such a prolific possessor in distributor of narcotics," Mascagni added.
Fox 41 first learned of the story in May, after we reported about the arrested of Dwayne Martin by Louisville Metro Police.
Martin was arrested on May 11, after LMPD officers attempted to serve a search warrant. When officers opened his door, he grabbed a handgun and opened fire on them. He was charged -- and indicted -- on two counts of attempted murder.
Fox 41 News later learned that Martin was part of a larger investigation. When Fox 41 informed DEA officials that it was aware of the drug cartel, those officials asked us to hold the story, because they felt running it would endanger the investigation, which was, at the time, still incomplete. After the arrest of another suspect in California last week, DEA officials told Fox it was safe to run the story.
Below are the names of 24 suspects listed in the original indictment, dated May 11:
Michael A. McCarthy Jr. Onrea Flynn (a.k.a. "Dre" and "Beatlejuice") Robert Posey Tyran Jenkins (a.k.a. "Cuz") Kerry Dickerson (a.k.a. "Fat Boy") Robin Staggs Abel Flores Lewain Gray Jason Howard (a.k.a. "J") Jason Bald Craig Owens Robert Jordan Geoffery Burden James Davis Dwayne Martin Guy Dorsey Gerald Washington Edwin Grace Charmont Johnson Angelo Reed Jesus Mendez Rodriguez Emilio Gomez Medina Enrique Berrelleza Villalobos Michael A. McCarthy