Twelve From Northeast Ohio Indicted In Cocaine Conspiracy
Twelve men from Northeast Ohio were indicted on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and related charges, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland Office.
Named in the 27-count indictment are as follows (they live in Cleveland unless otherwise noted): Troy Williams, 43, of Willoughby Hills; Jason Phillips, 34; Joseph Phillips, 39, of Brooklyn; Anthony Evans, 45; Louis Roberto, 33; Relan Derby, 39, of Euclid; Jack Houchens Jr., 53; Jose Antonio Gonzales II, 20; Vaughn Moore, 52; Michael Bergant, 52, of Mentor; David Bergant, 56, and Lamont Thomas, 41.
Jason and Joseph Phillips obtained multi-kilogram shipments of cocaine from Derby and Williams. All the men charged then arranged for or assisted in the redistribution of the cocaine in the Northern District of Ohio and elsewhere, according to the indictment.
The conspiracy took place between 2010 and the present, according to the indictment.
If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert F. Corts following an investigation by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force, a multi-agency task force comprised of investigators from the FBI, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Heights Police Department, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Euclid Police Department, Regional Transit Authority Police Department, Strongsville Police Department, Westlake Police Department and Shaker Heights Police Department. The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives. The HIDTA Program supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate or reduce drug-trafficking in Ohio.
An indictment is simply a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.