LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- In Louisville's Portland neighborhood, Bank Street has seen its fair share of crime.
“Yeah, everybody knows. The streets talk,” said a neighbor who only wanted to be identified as Angela.
For two years, police watched the 2900 block until they had enough evidence to start raiding homes.
According to nearly 800 pages of just-released court documents, police performed several raids, eventually putting 20 suspects in jail.
Discovery says the ring leader is Steven Cockerell, 26, a Portland native.
Police say Cockerell and his co-defendants have been selling drugs out the back of nearly every home on that block for years.
"I see a lot of crime. I hear a lot of gunshots at night. It's heartbreaking to see this neighborhood go down because of all the drugs and heroin. I have to carry a gun with me if I go anywhere," Angela told WDRB.
Overall, 20 people have now been indicted -- all charged with criminal syndication, plus several other charges including aggravated trafficking.
"That's why this indictment is significant. We're not just going off the guy who received the drugs from a supplier and sells them out, we're going after everybody who played a part in the operation,” said Andrew Beckman, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney.
During raids, investigators collected heroin, meth, cocaine, marijuana, four bullet-proof vests, 14 guns, over $600,000 and three vehicles.
The court records show Cockerell owns most of the homes, one of which was used solely for selling drugs.
One of the homes hardly has any furniture and the bathroom was being used to weigh and package the drugs.
And police believe Cockerell was also using rental cars to hide drugs.
"The message to the community should be that no matter what your role is in selling narcotics, especially heroin, which is just ruining our community, that you will be indicted,” said Beckman.
Prosecutors say each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison.
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