The location now bears the name of A.R. Lounge, but court documents say the dealers called it the "Star Lounge."
In one exchange caught on a wiretap, prosecutors said an organization leader urged a street-level dealer to make the heroin "a little stronger" by improving its purity, telling a street dealer the "black and blue" product was selling so well that he didn't want to "let the cash get away."
Police have said the raids cleaned up the drug trade on this corner and others just east of Collington Square Elementary School, though residents near Hoffman and Milton are more circumspect, pointing to a corner anchored by a dilapidated liquor store, grocery and carryout.
"I don't want anyone to think that because the police came through here, that it got better," said Nathan Tyrone Ward, who has lived near the corner for 13 years. "Everyone has to hustle. ...
"The cops come through and arrest the dealers, and then new dealers come. Then the cops grab them and the old ones come back."
Ward, 57, said he's gotten out of the drug business, which had led to at least a dozen arrests — a figure backed up in court records that show busts for selling drugs, assault and guns. His last criminal case, more than a decade ago, brought an eight-year sentence for dealing drugs.
Ward said he now has a wife, two children, a dog and a turtle, but no job. "If the street is going to change, then we have to change."
Pearson's arrest turned the sweeping drug case into national news — where "The Wire" seemed to overlap with real life.
That Pearson would be arrested by the same police tactics that targeted her gang on television — and served as the series' title — heightened the drama of a street thug who appeared to have escaped her criminal past.
She had been born to crack-addicted parents, dropped out of school, witnessed a fatal shooting at the age of 11, started dealing drugs at 12 and fatally shot another girl at 14. But her success and critical acclaim on "The Wire" led to questions of failed redemption once images captured her being led out of The Redwood in handcuffs, flanked by drug enforcement agents.
The newly filed court documents mention Pearson often, and describe in more detail her involvement with the enterprise. At one point, a confidential informant, using Pearson's stage name, told an undercover detective that Johnson was "at times a source of heroin for a female known as Snoop."
Police say in the documents that Pearson — known as "Dogg" on the street — was the go-to person for those in trouble, including Malone.
Authorities said they caught him calling the New York supplier and pleading for help four days before Christmas 2010. The call came just after police said enforcers for a rival gang crashed into his South Mount Street rowhouse, took his 47-gram heroin stash and held his girlfriend and son hostage.
"I said I need to hold like, 10 real quick, like it's an emergency," Malone said, according to a transcript of the wiretap. Calling from the alley behind his house, he quickly upped the amount from $10,000 to $15,000. "I'm good, I mean I'm good but I need it. I need 15."
But the New Yorker appeared skeptical. "What? Somebody grabbed you?" He then told Malone that "I don't even have that on deck," code for not having the money. He told him he had $7, meaning $7,000.
"Just bring that then yo," Malone said.
The New Yorker told Malone to see Pearson: "Yo but this is what I'm trying to tell you, listen to what you gotta do." Malone interrupted, saying, "Wait a minute, wait … Just, just bring that yo, ASAP. Just bring it ASAP yo."
The answer came back: "Aight, listen to what I'm saying though you gotta go through … Doggy."
It's unclear if the money ever got paid. The court documents show that Malone came to Pearson's apartment building, accompanied by the gunman, and at one point they were roaming around inside.
Case offers look into drug ring involving 'Snoop' of 'The Wire'
Actress caught on federal wiretap as part of years-long investigation into drug ring
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