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Uhuru leader says St. Petersburg police are unfairly targeting his family

Uhuru founder Omali Yeshitela held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the arrests of his sons on drug charges.

CHERIE DIEZ | Times

Uhuru founder Omali Yeshitela held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the arrests of his sons on drug charges.

ST. PETERSBURG — Local activist Omali Yeshitela called the recent arrests of his sons on drug charges attacks on him and the movement he started.

Yeshitela, the 68-year-old founder of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement and a former St. Petersburg mayoral candidate, called a news conference Tuesday to say that he, his family and the movement are being targeted by authorities.

On June 8, Yeshitela's sons, Weusi Africa Waller, 29, and Mwamba Bandele Yeshitela, 26, were arrested with two other men during a raid at 2353 13th St. S. They face charges of felony possession of marijuana with intent to sell and operating a drug house, a misdemeanor.

Mwamba Yeshitela also was arrested Sunday on charges of the sale and possession of marijuana. His father said police searched his car without permission, didn't find any drugs but arrested him anyway.

"It is clear that what is happening . . . are attacks on me, on this movement," Yeshitela said. "They are symbols of a community under siege. We're going to fight it."

Police called the investigation that led to the raid routine, and said several undercover drug buys were made at the house. When police raided the house, they found two pounds of marijuana in different size packages and thousands of dollars in cash, according to police reports.

Authorities also said the arrest and charges Sunday actually stem from June 1, when Mwamba Yeshitela sold less than 0.7 ounces of marijuana to an undercover police detective for $20, according to an arrest affidavit.

Uhuru leader says St. Petersburg police are unfairly targeting his family 07/06/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 6, 2010 10:54pm]
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