Cocaine Facts

  • Some of the most frequent complications due to cocaine use are cardiovascular effects, including disturbances in heart rhythm and heart attacks; such respiratory effects as chest pain and respiratory failure; neurological effects, including strokes, seizu
  • Among heavy cocaine users, an intense psychological dependence can occur; they suffer severe depression if the drug is unavailable, which lifts only when they take it again.
  • Cocaine in powder form is usually "snorted" into the nostrils, although it may also be rubbed onto the mucous lining of the mouth.
  • A tolerance to the cocaine high may be developed and many addicts report that they fail to achieve as much pleasure as they did from their first cocaine exposure.

Cocaine-ring bigwig details deals with gang

Cocaine dealer Ronnie "Goodie" Rodgers aimed to please.

"Sometimes (buyers) would complain about the drugs ain't no good, so I would wait and make sure the drugs cooked into crack," Rodgers said.

Rodgers, who pleaded guilty in October to operating one of Knoxville's largest-ever cocaine-trafficking networks, detailed the secrets of his success while testifying this week in the trial of three Imperial Insane Vice Lords members accused of operating their own drug-dealing conspiracy.

Rodgers was one of a steady parade of some of the region's heaviest hitters in the cocaine trade called by federal prosecutors to testify about supplying Vice Lords members with a steady flow of the illegal drug.

Vice Lords leader Walter "Heavy" Williams and members Allen "Capone" Young and Michael "New York" Smith, along with their gang brethren, are accused of conspiring to hawk crack cocaine in Knoxville's inner city. It is the first time a Knoxville street gang has been indicted as a group.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jennings rested his case Wednesday afternoon. With defense attorneys promising a short list of witnesses, Senior U.S. District Court Judge James Jarvis said he believes jurors could begin deliberations as early as this afternoon.

The trial has spanned three weeks and has included testimony from 30 witnesses, including Vice Lords members, crack addicts and drug dealers like Rodgers.

Rodgers ordered his cocaine by the kilogram. His suppliers hailed from Miami, and they, too, have pleaded guilty in a conspiracy case that netted the federal government more than $10 million in seized cash, cars and property.

Rodgers said his average order was 10 kilograms a week, for which he paid $260,000. He sold the cocaine by the ounce, earning him a $10,000 profit on each kilogram he hawked.

Rodgers said he sold cocaine to "practically the whole town," including Vice Lords member Jahmal Tory, who has testified he supplied other gang members.

Rodgers said he made it easy for his customers, a factor he attributed to his prolific sales record.

"If you wanted to purchase some cocaine - say you want to buy nine ounces - you put in $9,000 in the pager," Rodgers explained.

"Runners" such as Ed Sawyer, who also testified at the Vice Lords trial, then would be dispatched to deliver the orders, Rodgers said.

"I was on like a salary basis," Sawyer said. "It was just according to how business was that day. If business was booming, I'd get a little bit more."

Sometimes, Rodgers made the deliveries himself, especially with "good customers," like Tory.

"He (would place orders) maybe six or seven times a day," Rodgers said. "It would go on like this all the time."

Rodgers testified he talked to Williams only once. Williams wanted to "exchange some cocaine for AK-47s and pineapples," the street term for grenades, Rodgers said. The deal never materialized, he said.

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