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Arrests Target Leaders of Des Moines Area Gang

The U.S. Attorney's office worked with the FBI and police departments in central Iowa to investigate the C-Block gang.
Grant Gerlock
/
IPR
The U.S. Attorney's office worked with the FBI and police departments in central Iowa to investigate the C-Block gang.

The alleged leaders of a Des Moines area street gang are in custody after a months-long investigation by the FBI and local police agencies. Investigators say members of the gang known as C-Block repeatedly bought cocaine from a broker in Chicago to distribute in Iowa.

Thirteen of the 15 people facing charges have been arrested so far. That includes the accused leaders of the group: Daeron Merrett, Marshaun Merrett and Barry Adair, Jr.

Most of the charges in the case involve buying and selling guns or drugs but members of C-Block have also been connected to robberies and other violent crimes, according to U.S. Attorney Marc Krickbaum.

“The members and associates of C-Block are alleged to be responsible for murders, shootings, robberies and other crimes of violence in and around Des Moines,” Krickbaum said.

Krickbaum added that C-Block is believed to be a local offshoot of a national gang, the Crips.

Marc Krickbaum is the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of Iowa.
Credit Grant Gerlock / IPR
/
IPR
Marc Krickbaum is the U.S. Attorney for the southern district of Iowa.

Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert said multiple agencies from across the metro area were involved in the case.

“This will have a lasting impact and we’ll see that impact in our crime rates and a restored feeling of safety within our communities,” Wingert said.

Officers intercepted multiple phone calls and text messages throughout the investigation, including a text exchange where two C-Block members seemed to be planning the armed robbery of another drug dealer. Police pulled them over shortly after the messages were discovered, stopping the robbery from taking place.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the charges in this case carry maximum sentences ranging from 10 years to life in prison.

Grant Gerlock is a reporter covering Des Moines and central Iowa