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Indictments Charge Drug Trafficking Network With Supplying Kilos Of Cocaine, Crack To Champaign-Urbana Area Alleged Leader Directed Operation While In State Work Release Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2008

Urbana, Ill. – A federal grand jury today charged a Chicago man, Olaitan Fowowe, 26, with directing a drug trafficking organization that transported multiple kilograms of cocaine and crack cocaine from Chicago to Champaign-Urbana for redistribution from March 2003 to December 2007. The indictment alleges that from June 2006 to December 2007, Fowowe continued to direct the organization while serving a sentence with the Illinois Department of Corrections at a work release facility, Crossroads Adult Transition Center in Chicago.

The indictment charges Fowowe and two others, Sasha Daley, 23, of Chicago, and Kristopher Davis, 24, of South Holland, with conspiring with Fowowe to distribute cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine. The indictment alleges Daley transported crack and cocaine to Champaign-Urbana for distribution and transported drug proceeds back to Fowowe in Chicago. Davis allegedly rented an apartment in Urbana, and distributed cocaine and crack cocaine in the Champaign-Urbana, Illinois area. Separate indictments were also returned charging seven additional defendants with various drug offenses related to the distribution of cocaine and crack cocaine in the Champaign-Urbana area.

The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois, Rodger A. Heaton stated, “These charges reflect a successful cooperative effort to dismantle a drug trafficking conspiracy allegedly responsible for supplying the Champaign-Urbana community with kilos of cocaine and crack cocaine for nearly five years.”

Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney said, “We are especially proud of the effort the department’s Drug Unit has put into this case. Thousands of hours have been spent establishing and documenting relationships amongst this hierarchy. In addition to partnering with DEA and IRS, this four-man unit has utilized virtually every investigative tool possible; from undercover buys to electronic intercepts. It is especially gratifying to see the outcomes that can be produced from the alliance that has been forged with our counterparts in the DEA and IRS.”

"DEA is pleased with the cooperation of all the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation. The cooperation was a critical factor leading to this indictment,” stated Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Chicago Field Office.

The charges are the result of an ongoing Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration; Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations; and the Champaign Police Department. Agencies providing cooperation and assistance in the investigation include the Urbana Police Department; Champaign County Sheriff’s Department; Illinois Attorney General’s Office; Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office; Calumet City Police Department; Lansing Police Department; and the Illinois Department of Corrections.

Fowowe, Sasha Daley and Rashaud C. Harrell, 26, also of Chicago, were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine in a criminal complaint filed on December 6, 2007. Harrell remains a fugitive.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, officers involved in the five-year investigation gathered information that indicates the drug-trafficking organization recruited others to assist in the drug conspiracy. These individuals were responsible for renting vehicles used to transport cocaine from Chicago to C-U; transporting cash from drug sales back to Chicago; renting apartments in C-U for drug dealers to use as their base of operation; and obtaining cellular telephones in their names to prevent law enforcement agencies from tracking the organization’s activities.

As a result of the investigation, according to the affidavit and prosecutor’s statements in federal court, 25 search warrants have been conducted on residences and vehicles in the Champaign county area believed to be tied to the organization. The searches have resulted in seizure of five vehicles; approximately 405 grams of cannabis; approximately 1,722 grams of powder cocaine; more than one kilogram of crack cocaine; eight semi-automatic handguns / revolvers, two of which were previously reported as stolen; and approximately $110,000 in cash.

In addition to Fowowe, Sasha Daley and Davis, specific charges against the seven additional defendants indicted today include:

  • Martell Goods, 20, of Park Forest, one count conspiracy to distribute 50 or more grams of crack cocaine from about May 31, 2007 to December 2007 and six counts distribution of crack cocaine on six occasions from May 31, 2007 to October 30, 2007;
  • Duron Elam-Peterson, 21, of Riverdale, two counts distribution of crack cocaine - on March 2, 2007, and April 10, 2007;
  • Lenell Elam, 18, of Chicago, one count distribution of crack cocaine on April 11, 2007;
  • Don Newman Jr., 25, address unknown, one count distribution of five grams or more of crack cocaine on or about February 22, 2007, and four counts distribution of crack cocaine on four occasions in March 2007;
  • Anthony Jarrett, Jr., 21, of Chicago, one count conspiracy to distribute five grams or more of crack cocaine from about December 2006 to at least May 16, 2007;
  • Jason T. Dickerson, 20, of Evanston, one count conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine from about October 2007 to December 6, 2007, one count distribution of crack cocaine on November 14, 2007, and one count possession of 50 grams or more of crack cocaine with intent to distribute on December 6, 2007; and,
  • Jerome J. Daley, 20, also of Evanston, one count conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine from about October 2007 to December 6, 2007.

Members of the public are reminded that indictments are merely accusations; the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

If convicted of the conspiracy, Fowowe faces mandatory life in prison. The statutory mandatory minimum penalty for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and 50 grams or more of crack cocaine is 10 years to life. If a defendant has a prior felony drug conviction, the mandatory minimum penalty increases to 20 years imprisonment; with two or more prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory penalty is life imprisonment. For distribution of crack cocaine, the penalty is up to 20 years in prison; if a defendant has a prior felony drug conviction, the maximum penalty increases to 30 years in prison.

Following his arrest on December 6, 2007, Fowowe was ordered detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending trial. The remaining defendants will be issued notices to appear in federal court in Urbana for arraignment at a date to be determined by the U.S. Clerk of the Court.

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