COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Members of an alleged gang with 2-decade-old roots in Columbus have been charged with drug dealing, illegal weapons possession and money laundering, state and federal authorities announced Wednesday.
Many of the 22 defendants are relatives of original members of the Short North Posse, including sons and daughters, said assistant U.S. attorney Dave DeVillers.
The gang, dating to the 1990s, distributed drugs including crack cocaine throughout Ohio and in other states, and recruited individuals from elsewhere to join the gang's operations in central Ohio, DeVillers said.
"There are a lot of tentacles to this case," he said.
The Short North district north of downtown is now a vibrant shopping and restaurant district, but it was a run-down and at times dangerous area before the first gang crackdown in the 1990s.
Columbus police chief Kim Jacobs said the charges are part of keeping that area safe.
"We will continue to go after that posse or any other group of people that want to impose their will over the citizens who want to just live there quietly and peacefully and crime free," Jacobs said.
The defendants are charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine, oxycodone, crack cocaine and marijuana. The federal indictments announced Wednesday also charge defendants with illegal possession of firearms and illegal travel to support racketeering and money laundering.
Additional money laundering charges allege the defendants used the Columbus casino to disguise thousands of dollars in illegal drug profits. Defendants are also accused of using weapons to protect their operation.
Several of the defendants were in custody Wednesday.
Columbus, Franklin County and federal authorities say the indictments cap a yearlong investigation.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.