It took a jury just 45 minutes to convict Detroit native Bennie M. Tabb of dealing drugs in New Castle.

Tabb, 20, who was known among other alleged drug dealers and users as “Money,” was found guilty yesterday on all drug-related charges against him. But he was acquitted of a simple assault charge for having allegedly threatened someone with a gun.

The jury began deliberations around 3 p.m. yesterday and returned with its verdict shortly before 4 p.m.

Tabb is to be sentenced on charges of corrupt organizations, criminal conspiracy, possession of crack cocaine, possession with intent to deliver crack and delivery. A date has not been set yet.

Considered by police as a mid-level dealer, Tabb is the first of 28 people to stand trial for bringing drugs into New Castle from Detroit and selling them to local addicts from 2002 through 2006.

The $2-million-a-year operation involved mostly cocaine and its crystallized version, crack, according to investigators, although other drugs also were involved.

The dealers brought in teens from Detroit to help with the business, prosecuting attorney Michael Ahwesh, senior deputy attorney general, told the jury in his closing.

Tabb was only 18 or 19 when he was brought here from Detroit by alleged ring-leader, James “O.Z.” Moses, Ahwesh noted.

Tabb’s defense attorney, Nick A. Frisk Jr. of Ellwood City, declined an opening statement at the trial.

Yesterday, Frisk submitted papers to the court from the Wayne County Department of Child and Family Services, where Tabb allegedly had been staying. Frisk was attempting to prove Tabb was in Michigan from Oct. 28, 2002, to Jan. 13, 2005.

In his closing argument, Frisk tried to convince the jury that testimony given by four crack addicts was not credible, and that those witnesses did not have a clear dates in their minds to accompany their testimony of when they had bought drugs from Tabb.

The jurors listened intently as Ahwesh reminded them that Tabb was part of a group of individuals who came to New Castle from Detroit to sell crack cocaine as part of a large organization, “and reap the profits.

“They had a leader, and O.Z. was the leader,” he said.

He countered Frisk’s argument, saying that even if Tabb had been in Michigan until Jan. 13, 2005, “he showed up here in early January” that year.

The drug dealers took over people’s homes and had guards at the doors and sentinels outside to watch for police, he said.

“The witnesses all testified that they sold too, to support their own habits,” Ahwesh said.

He urged the jury to consider that all of the witnesses gave similar testimony with similar details about buying drugs from Tabb and others from Detroit, and, he said, they were telling the truth.

He noted the witnesses all had a clear idea of the identity of the people who sold to them. In fact, each of them picked their photos out of an album.

“If they had made all this up, wouldn’t they also have made up times and dates?” Ahwesh asked.

“Clearly, they have no recollection of dates, any of them.

“Their use of crack cocaine as they described it was a 24-hour-a-day job,” he said. “They lived for crack cocaine and the days ran from one to another.”

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