News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chuvalo J. Truesdell
PIO/AFD
Number: 404-893-7124

Members of Large-Scale Crack Cocaine Distribution Ring Indicted
Twenty Indicted Federally in Six Indictments; Thirteen Indicted by the State

MAR 30 -- CHATTANOOGA, Tenn - A federal grand jury in Chattanooga returned three multi-count indictments on March 9, 2010, against Levar Williams, aka “L,” 31, of Cleveland; Demtrius Byrd, 23, of Chattanooga; Adrius Stephon Hickey, aka “Age,” 44, of Cleveland; Lashanda Blankenship, aka “Sandra,” 22, of Cleveland; Steven Dante Hickey, 33, of Cleveland; Navon Martin, aka “New York,” 20, of Cleveland; Corrie Moore, 26, of Cleveland; Larry Hickey, aka “Old School,” 56, of Cleveland; Keilo Walker, 28, of Cleveland; Dalopheal Taylor, aka “Tray,” 22, of Cleveland; Everett Hollins, III, aka “E,” 26, of Chattanooga; Omar Gash, 31, of Cleveland; Demtrius Scott, aka “Doo Doo,” 35, of Cleveland; Ronald Whaley, 50 of Cleveland; Vernon Bramlett, aka “Man,” 33, of Chattanooga; Christopher Hilt, aka “Juice,” 21, of Chattanooga; Demetria Jackson, aka “Mee-Mee,” 23, of Cleveland, Marcus L. Hodges, aka “Unck,” 36, of Chattanooga; and Brandon E. Rawlings, aka “Black D” or “Boogaloo,” 26, of Chattanooga, for various crack cocaine distribution and firearm offenses. An additional indictment was returned against Stacey V. King, 39, of Chattanooga, on March 23, 2010, for distribution of crack cocaine.

Several of the defendants appeared in court March 24, 2010, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Lee and all entered pleas of not guilty to the charges in the indictments. Trial has been set for May 17, 2010, in United States District Court, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Williams, Byrd, Adrius, Steven, and Larry Hickey, Blankenship, Martin, Moore, Walker, Taylor, Hollins, Gash, Scott, and Whaley were charged together in a fifty-one-count indictment alleging conspiracy to distribute over 50 grams of crack cocaine, as well as 49 substantive crack distribution charges. In addition, Larry Hickey was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

If convicted of the charged conspiracy, each of these defendants faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison up to a maximum of life, at least five years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $4,000,000.

Bramlett was charged individually with five counts of distribution of crack cocaine. If convicted, Bramlett faces up to thirty years in prison, at least six years of supervised release, and a $2,000,000 fine on each count.

Hilt and Jackson were charged together in a ten-count indictment alleging conspiracy to distribute more than five grams of crack cocaine and nine substantive crack distribution counts.

If convicted, each of these defendants faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years up to forty years in prison, at least four years of supervised release, and a maximum $2,000,000 fine for the conspiracy offense and up to twenty years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a maximum $1,000,000 fine on each of the other crack distribution counts.

Hodges and Rawlings were charged together in a 14-count indictment alleging conspiracy to distribute more than five grams of crack cocaine and thirteen substantive crack distribution counts.

If convicted, each of these defendants faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years up to forty years in prison, at least four years of supervised release, and a maximum $2,000,000 fine for the conspiracy offense and up to twenty years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a maximum $1,000,000 fine on each of the other crack distribution counts.

King was indicted individually in a three-count indictment with distribution of crack cocaine and distribution of more than five grams of crack cocaine.

If convicted, King faces a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of five years up to forty years in prison, at least four years of years of supervised release, and a maximum $2,000,000 fine on the distribution of more than five grams of crack cocaine charge and up to twenty years in prison, at least three years of supervised release, and a maximum $1,000,000 fine on each of the remaining crack distribution counts.

Rodney G. Benson, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Atlanta Field Division commented, “All participating agencies played a crucial role in the eradication of this criminal network. Their drug trafficking activities posed a significant threat to the quality of life in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. The dismantling of this organization makes these communities a safer place today. I want to thank our federal, state and local law enforcement counterparts, who had a direct impact in making this investigation a success.”

United States Attorney James R. (Russ) Dedrick applauds the efforts of DEA and the Cleveland Police Department over the past year and a half in pursuing this complex investigation involving dozens of undercover drug purchases, two federal search warrants, and traffic stops.

Cleveland Police Department Chief Wes Snyder thanked the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U. S. Attorney's Office saying that "it was a pleasure working with the DEA Agents who assisted us and provided resources that were essential for this investigation. Cooperation and working together is essential for successful prosecution of cases of this magnitude. The effectiveness of agencies working together is apparent in this case."

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott Winne, Terra Bay, Mel Schwing, and Jay Woods will represent the United States.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment constitutes only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

DEA Atlanta’s SAC Benson encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justhinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.

#####