It was another deadly day in Chicago this Tuesday when the FBI and Chicago Police Department busted several high-ranking members of the Black P-Stone Nation gang on drug and gun charges. What should’ve been a routine raid and arrest left one gang leader dead and two FBI agents wounded.
The raid began around 6:30 a.m., as an FBI SWAT team approached the residence on Rich Court to execute an arrest warrant for 50-year-old Melvin Toran, an alleged high-ranking member of the Black P-Stone Nation gang. He was set to be charged in federal court with distributing heroin.
But before agents could slap the handcuffs on him, Toran (photo above) responded with gunfire when he saw the agents coming. A shootout followed in which two FBI agents suffered injuries that were “not believed to be life threatening.”
When the FBI SWAT team finally did enter the home, they found Toran lying dead on the ground. According to the medical examiner's office, he had committed suicide by shooting himself in the mouth.
It seems Toran did not want to spend any more time in a cell than he already had. And, according to court records, the alleged gang leader had spent quite a few days locked up. When he was just 18 years old, he was arrested on murder charges. He pleaded guilty and served a little bit of over half his 20-year prison sentence before getting out on parole in the late 1990s.
Whether because he could not find gainful employment as an ex-convict or simply because he liked the easy money, Toran was arrested again in July of 1999. This time he was charged with manufacturing and delivering heroin with intent to distribute and using a dangerous weapon in furtherance of a crime. Again he pleaded guilty and received 14 years in prison.
By then there was no turning back. In 2008, he was convicted of the aggravated assault of a police officer and weapons charges and received 7 years behind bars.
In February of 2013 he was released from prison and went to work on Chicago’s South Side for the Black P-Stone Nation, one of the city’s oldest and most powerful gangs with over 30,000 members.
Toran and several other ranking gang members then became targets of “Operation Cornerstone,” an investigation spanning more than two years conducted by a joint gang task force of the FBI and Chicago Police Department. The operation included seizures of distribution quantities of cocaine and heroin, as well as confiscations of firearms and cash proceeds from drug sales. Authorities uncovered the criminal activity through the use of wiretapped cellular phones, cooperating witnesses, controlled purchases of narcotics and guns, and extensive surveillance.
One Black P-Stone gangster arranged for the sale of 225 grams of heroin for $15,700. Unbeknownst to him, the buyer was cooperating with law enforcement and had surreptitiously recorded both the negotiation – in a restaurant in the Back of the Yards neighborhood – and the transaction itself in a residence in Englewood.
The investigation also uncovered a heroin and cocaine operation being run out of a South Side clothing store. A source cooperating with law enforcement informed authorities that when picking up narcotics from the store, the normal practice was to purchase an item of clothing as a pretext. When paying for the clothing at the checkout counter, the owner of the store or one of the employees would bag the item of clothing and also pass over an additional bag containing the narcotics. In the summer of 2015, a cooperating source – working at the direction of investigators – purchased more than 1,000 grams of heroin from the store owner for $72,720.
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