Local News

10 charged in Raleigh street-racing sting

Posted June 16, 2008 1:21 p.m. EDT
Updated June 18, 2008 9:10 a.m. EDT

— Law enforcement arrested 10 people allegedly involved in what authorities describe as an elaborate street-racing network over the weekend, and more arrests are expected.

Six high-powered vehicles were also seized in the sting, the result of a three-week investigation, Operation Redline, into drag racing and street racing on and around busy roadways in Raleigh and Wake County, including Capital Boulevard, Interstate 440 and Interstate 540.

Authorities said the alleged racing has been going on for years, and that they have received numerous complaints about. In some cases, traffic on I-440 and I-540 would come to a stop because of the races.

"These speeds would reach up to 150 mph. They would race. They would stop. They would race again. There would be as much as 15 to 20 cars out here following the races and racing," Lt. Keith Stone with the North Carolina Highway Patrol said.

Members of the racing network have also recorded the races, posting videos of them on YouTube – images of brazen and reckless driving, as well as collisions.

"We have seen, at times, where they're going around traffic. They're involved with other traffic so these – the motorists, the citizens that drive these streets at this times are sometimes in the middle of a race," Trooper Beckley Vaughan said.

Phillip Lee Arnold, Joshua Sanne, Jhohan Suriel and Javier Mercado face more than 40 charges, including careless and reckless driving, speeding, prearranged racing, modification of vehicles for the purpose of speeding and driving without an operator's license.

The most serious charge, prearranged racing, carried a three-year license suspension and seizure of vehicle.

Jonathan Cassel and Antwon Lamar Stephens were charged with aiding and abetting prearranged racing, authorities said.

The operation was a combined effort by several local law enforcement agencies, including the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Raleigh Police Department, Wake County Sheriff's Office, Division of Motor Vehicles, Bureau of License and Theft and North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division of the state Crime Control and Public Safety.