The arrests stemmed from a Chester County grand jury investigation that began in January.
Police arrested Delbert Franklin, 23; O'Dell Cannon, 19; David Williams, 20; Edgar Barber, 19; Andre Smith, 19; Harvey Norris, 20; and Carnell Tinson, 19, all of Coatesville. The arrests began on Wednesday and continued throughout the week. More arrests are expected as the investigation continues, Sarcione said.
Delbert Franklin, alleged by police and prosecutors to be the leader of the gang, was released from Huntington State Prison on April 20, 1996, according to grand jury testimony. He was sentenced in 1991 to 20 to 59 months in prison for aggravated assault, court records show. While in prison, according to grand jury testimony, Franklin met a member of the Young Guns, a gang that originated in Philadelphia in the early 1990s, according to testimony.
When Franklin, known as ``Mister,'' left prison and returned home to Coatesville, he was ``all about power and money,'' according to statements made to police by Sheron Shabazz, identified by police as a shooting victim of the Young Guns. Shabazz told police that the Young Guns used robbery and intimidation in an effort to stop other dealers from selling cocaine in the area, according to grand jury testimony.
In addition, Kenneth Tucker, who police say is an acknowledged member of the Young Guns, told authorities that Delbert Franklin and ``a few of the guys'' would travel to Philadelphia two or three times a week and buy nine ounces of cocaine for $10,000, according to grand jury testimony. On these trips to Philadelphia, usually to Ninth Street and Allegheny Avenue, Franklin would distribute handguns to gang members who accompanied him. When they got back to Coatesville, according to the testimony, Franklin would collect the guns and return them to a safe.
According to the testimony, Franklin took the cocaine back to Coatesville, where it was cooked into crack cocaine. He then allegedly distributed the cocaine to different members of the Young Guns for sale.
As part of the investigation, police used statements by victims and those who said they were Young Guns, as well as undercover work, authorities said. They focused a video camera on Eighth Avenue and Diamond Alley in Coatesville.
In May, police executed a search warrant for Franklin's apartment. They found two .380-caliber semi-automatics, a .38-caliber revolver, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and letters discussing the Young Guns and the organizational chain of command, according to grand jury testimony.
Police said they also found the Young Guns' handmade stationery, depicting a person standing over a police officer and shooting him in the head.
The investigation was conducted by the Coatesville Police Department, the District Attorney's Office, county detectives and the investigating grand jury.
The suspected dealers are charged with corrupt organization and conspiracy, attempted homicide, aggravated assault and related charges. The corrupt organization charge alone can carry a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years, according to Assistant District Attorney Susan Fields, who led the investigation along with First Assistant District Attorney Joseph Carroll.