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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Drugs and Money Lead to Kidnapping of Children

Drugs, big money, greed, sex trafficking, kidnapping, violent attacks -- the evidence of absolute interconnections of all forms of vice and crime scream from the daily headlines. No longer are small, rural towns like Portsmouth, Ohio, safe havens for citizens as gangsters and thugs from urban areas like Detroit and Columbus do their deadly business across America.

For those locals who doubt connections between drug rings and human trafficking operations, read the latest details of the kidnapping of two children from Indianapolis who were driven across four states by drug dealers pursuing money from their estranged older sister.

"Emma Blackwell, 13, and her brother Aaron, 16, were at their family home in Indianapolis at 2.30am on Monday March 2 when three men with pistols kicked the door in, demanding cash.

"After their bemused mother expressed her confusion, the group seized the children, bound them with zip-ties, and stole their mother's phone.

"Bundled into separate SUVs, the young teenagers were each subjected to 24 hours of torment before police rescued Aaron in Detroit, Michigan, and Emma was freed by her captors at a Taco Bell in Dayton, Ohio, and given $200 to get home.

"Court documents allege their 27-year-old sister, exotic dancer Whitney Blackwell, stole $250,000 from the group's leader, her former boyfriend, John 'Jay' Thomas."

(Mia De Graaf. "Suburban teenage siblings kidnapped from their home and tortured by drug gang over '$250k stolen by their estranged stripper sister.'" Daily Mail. March 08, 2015)

The kidnappers put Aaron in the back luggage compartment of one SUV and drove him to Detroit, keeping him blindfolded the whole time. There, the kidnappers forced him to relay ransom demands to his half-brother over the phone. When he couldn't answer questions his captors asked, they cut his fingers and threatened to cut them off.

As law enforcement zeroed in on the house where the kidnappers were staying, two of them got back into the SUV and drove away. Police followed. A high-speed chase ensued, ending when the SUV crashed into a snow bank.

Police found Aaron blindfolded and his hands bound in the SUV's luggage area. Taken to a hospital, he needed stitches for his fingers but was otherwise OK.

(Robert King. "Drugs, cash, Taco Bell and a taxi to freedom.
The Indianapolis Star. March 07, 2015)

The police report stated that Emma, in pink and white pajamas, was being carted across Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio. The men drove to Detroit then transferred Emma to another with a man and a woman who drove to a remote property in Kentucky, she said.

That couple argued about the weather then drove Emma to a Taco Bell in Dayton, Ohio. Why there? It's not clear. But, in Dayton, they handed her $200, they told her to take a taxi home.

Stanley Pernell, 19, the brother of the two kidnapped teenagers said he worked frantically to find ransom money to save his siblings and admitted his part in an elaborate scheme to track down hidden stacks of cash he hoped to take to a rendezvous point in Miami.

Whitney Blackwell, his older sister, asked him to find the money she had taken from the alleged drug dealer Thomas whom she had dated and lived with in Detroit.

Pernell said he found out about the kidnapping about two and one-half hours after the men took Aaron and Emma. The kidnappers called the family at least eight times and told them to bring the money to Miami within 24 hours, according to court records.

Pernell also said he knew Thomas, the alleged mastermind behind the kidnapping plot. Pernell said he had spent time at Thomas' house in Detroit, doing construction work and painting walls. "He was a cool cat, rather than the fact that he was doing the drugs and stuff," Pernell said.

(Jill Disis. Brother of kidnapped teens: 'I'm not fearful.' The Indianapolis Star. March 05, 2015)

An exotic dancer at Club Venus in Detroit, Whitney Blackwell, 27, allegedly admitted she was living with Thomas. They had been together since Thanksgiving. At first, she thought he was good for her. He bought her things and helped her look after her 6-year-old son, she said in a jailhouse interview. But soon he became abusive.

But, according to court documents, she also told police he ran a large-scale cocaine and heroin operation. At times, she said, as much as $6 million and 20 grams of cocaine were moving through his house.

Authorities allege Blackwell took money and drugs from the dealer. She says that money went "missing" from a package he received from another state. In another version of the story, she maintains she stole $43,000 from her former boyfriend so she could support her six-year-old son and buy a car.

The amount of money is very much in question. A federal complaint says the amount was $120,000. A Marion County probable cause affidavit says it was $250,000. There are indications money was stashed in several places. Through the investigation, people said that Whitney Blackwell had hidden money in the glove box of a Ford sedan and that she planned to bury money in the ground as soon as the snow melted. Detectives found a large amount of money in a box of trash in the basement of a Westside Indy house.

In any case, the alleged drug dealer wanted his money back. When he couldn't find it, she said, he and his companions hatched the kidnapping and ransom plot.

Whitney Blackwell gave an interview and a statement to girls that are attracted to bad boys:

“Leave them alone, it’s not safe. I thought it was the best thing ever becasue I didn’t have to work at the strip club anymore. This has been the worst experience of my life. I am scared to leave the jail. I am scared he is going to find my son and kill him, like he said he was going to do,” said Whitney.

(Staff Report. "Half sister: Former boyfriend behind kidnapping." WISH-TV.
LIN Television Corporation. 

Whitney's mother told authorities she is skeptical that her daughter's concern about the children is genuine. As she was taken into custody, police say she yelled to her adult brother to "get the money and get her out of jail."

(Robert King. "Drugs, cash, Taco Bell and a taxi to freedom.
The Indianapolis Star. March 07, 2015)

The Aftermath

Six people have been federally charged in the kidnappings:

* John Thomas
* Bernando Reeves
* Ali Hussain Ashore
* Mohammed Karkash
* April Sandell
* Alaa Al-Salehi

Whitney Blackwell faces drug dealing charges and remains in custody in Marion County Jail.

Stanley Pernell faces several charges including burglary and resisting law enforcement.

Additional charges were filed by the prosecuting attorney, saying that Whitney and Pernell did conspire with a man named “John” to deliver and distribute cocaine.

Share this news with all who will listen: Scioto County faces criminal activity that rivals anything described in this report. Innocent people are in danger as long as addiction, greed, and gangsters roam the area. Many of these criminals are not natives, and some have connections hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away.

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