Three years ago, drug dealers migrated from Detroit to New Castle, Pa., with bags of powder cocaine in hand, says the Detroit Free Press. They succeeded in their goal of taking over the crack cocaine market in part because they used Detroit youths to sell the drugs. The dealers employed as many as 20 workers from Detroit — some as young as 14 — to peddle. After a few weeks, the dealers sent the teenagers back to Detroit and brought in a new crop in an effort to throw off police in the western Pennsylvania town.
Using juveniles to sell drugs is nothing new, authorities acknowledge. In Detroit, Young Boys Incorporated, or YBI, used school-age children to sell drugs in the 1970s and ’80s. “But the specific use of juveniles rotating from Detroit to New Castle was something much more organized than we’ve seen with others,” said Nils Frederiksen, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Two Detroit-based drug rings supplied New Castle’s dealers, sometimes cooperating in selling as much as $2 million in crack since 2003. Their empires came crashing down when 70 New Castle and Pennsylvania officers issued charges against 28 people. Five of the 18 Detroiters are in custody, while the others are still at large. Pennsylvania authorities said they think the suspects may have fled back to Detroit.