News and Press Releases

Eighteen people indicted in cocaine-Distribution conspiracy

Oct. 2, 2012

Eighteen people from the Cleveland area were indicted on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent distribute cocaine, law enforcement officials announced today.

“The charges detail a conspiracy that pushed cocaine onto the streets of Cleveland,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “Members of this group were found with body armor, numerous firearms and piles of cash.”

“The indictment and arrest of these 18 individuals should serve notice to others engaged in illicit drug activity that this behavior will not be tolerated,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office. “As evidenced by the results of this investigation, the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force will work tirelessly to target and eliminate the most significant threats to our communities.”

The conduct detailed in the 42-count indictment took place between April 2011 and the present.

Those indicted are:

Nedra Battle, 44, of University Heights.

Samuel Bradford, 49, of Cleveland.

Clarzel Buckner, 27, of Warrensville Heights.

Willliam Byrd, 39, of Cleveland.

George Clements, 48, of Cleveland.

Richard Eckford, 48, of Mentor.

Brandt Holly, 45, of Cleveland.

Anthony Howard, 40, of Euclid.

Raymond Jackson, 44, of Cleveland.

Marcus Lane, 48, of Cleveland.

Albert Martin IV, 59, of University Heights.

Raymond McCollum, 45, of Cleveland.

Michael Philpott, 61, of University Heights.

Donte Smith, 33, of Cleveland.

Ricardo Thompson, 51, of Cincinnati.

Derek Williams, 50, of Aurora.

Nicholas Willoughby, 23, of Cleveland.

Larnail Wright, 49, of Cleveland.

Derek Williams distributed multiple-ounce quantities of cocaine to George Clements, Michael Philpott, William Byrd, Anthony Howard, Brandt Holly, Clarzel Buckner, Samuel Bradford, Larnail Wright, Donald Dial and others for redistribution, according to the indictment.

Donald Dial (not indicted herein) also distributed cocaine to Bradford, Wright, Donte Smith, Marcus Lane, Nedra Battle, Raymond Jackson,m Richard Eckford, Albert Martin IV, Ricardo Thompson, Raymond McCollum and others, according to the indictment.

Dial sometimes sold drugs from his business, Dawn’s Market and Deli in Cleveland, to members of the conspiracy. Other deals with conspirators took place at or near The Meeting Place Bar and Lounge, according to the indictment.

Dial has been charged separately, according to public records.

Williams used stash houses in Cleveland and East Cleveland to hide the drugs, according to the indictment.
He also had his customers use code, such as street numbers, to indicate the amount of cocaine they wanted to buy in an effort to thwart law enforcement, according to the indictment.

Law enforcement agents searched multiple locations in April 2012. They recovered more than $166,000 in cash and a bullet resistant vest from Williams’ home in Aurora, Ohio, as well as nearly $10,000 in cash and three firearms from stash houses he used, according to the indictment.

Overall, prosecutors are seeking to forfeit more than $180,000 in cash, body armor, four handguns and a shotgun, according to the indictment, as well as 13 bottles of champagne seized from Williams’ home.

Williams is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was previously convicted of drug trafficking in 1990, according to the indictment.

Donte Smith is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and body armor. He was previously convicted in 2002 of felonious assault with a firearm specification and attempted felonious assault with a firearm specification, according to the indictment.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Teresa L. Dirksen and Joseph P. Schmitz following an investigation by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force (NOLETF), the FBI and the Cleveland Division of Police.

The NOLETF is a long standing 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.


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