The Metro Police Gang Unit capped the most prolific year in its history by making a series of narcotics trafficking arrests of members from the Crazy White Boys gang.
Six members and associates of the Crazy White Boys gang were arrested last week on drug distribution charges for selling close to 2,000 homemade ecstasy pills and painkillers to undercover Gang Unit detectives.
Arrested as a result of the four-month investigation were Joseph “Swap Shop Joe” Tarre, the alleged leader of the gang, and five other individuals. Also arrested were Tarre’s girlfriend Kellie Applegate, Crazy White Boys members Robert Dailey, Jonathan Bell and Samuel Lusty in addition to Lusty’s girlfriend Amanda Fitih.
Tarre delivered homemade ecstasy pills in quantities up to 500 on four occasions to the undercover detective, police said.
According to Detective Gerry Hyder, this was the first bust of Crazy White Boys members since the Gang Unit was formed in 2004.
Hyder said Crazy White Boys were attached to the street hip hop culture and often used the money earned selling drugs to make music. Swap Shop Joe was a back-up singer for local rapper Haystak, according to Hyder, and had gone on tour with him in the past.
“With anything, you need money to make music, you need money to lay down tracks,” said Hyder, who added that although the Gang Unit was aware of Crazy White Boys, they weren’t suspected of any more violent or gun-related crimes. “A lot of these guys are very smart guys, especially Joe, he’s a smart, business-minded guy. He’s sang on a lot of albums.”
According to police, Crazy White Boys are not a white supremacist group and in fact have some black members in their ranks as well. Hyder said the investigation showed there were two local chapters of the Crazy White Boys. There was the Straight Pits, led by Tarre, and the I4NI group.
Lusty was a member of the latter group and was charged with selling more than 400 painkillers to detectives.
“This investigation shows that gang activity in Nashville transcends race, gender and age groups,” Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas said. “Our Gang Unit is doing an excellent job behind the scenes monitoring and investigating gang activity in a number of different areas across Davidson County.”
The statistics back up Serpas’s praise. After having their unit doubled in size in 2007 to 12 detectives and two sergeants, the Gang Unit had a record number of arrests (2,359), felony arrests (321) and gun seizures (136).
Hyder said he hoped the Crazy White Boys arrests would earn attention for the fact that suspected drug dealers would no longer be on the streets of Nashville, especially the Hermitage area where Tarre’s group operated.
“I think this should be a case that gets a lot of interest, not because they’re white, but because we have people that were involved in drug activity off the streets,” Hyder said. “We have people that were involved with manufacturing ecstasy pills in a residential area that are not doing that any more.”