Sixty people indicted for Heroin trafficking
Sixty people were indicted in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy to bring heroin from Chicago and Atlanta and sell it throughout Greater Cleveland, law enforcement officials announced today.
An additional 32 people were indicted in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on related state charges.
The indictments were announced today by Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Timothy McGinty, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office and Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath.
The 203-count federal indictment describes a conspiracy took place from at least September 2011 through this month.
Keith Ricks, Brandy M. Bates and Dammarkro S. Nolan obtained heroin from suppliers in Atlanta and transported the drugs to Cleveland by mail or car. Ricks, Maurice Golston, Dionte Thompson and Leamon Shephard also pooled their money to obtain heroin from Atlanta, according to the indictment.
Ricks then distributed the heroin to other traffickers in Cleveland, including Shephard, Golston, Marcus Blue, Maceo Moore, Gregory Hamilton and Robert Belk, according to the indictment.
Shephard also took the heroin he obtained from Ricks and other suppliers and distributed to other dealers. Moore also obtained the heroin and distributed it to other dealers, including Jamez Jamel Webb II, Rolando J. Reed and Terrance Fletcher, according to the indictment.
Ricks, Moore, Shephard, Blue, Golston, Nolan and others also planned and committed burglaries and robberies from other drug dealers, customers and each other. This was done to fund their drug trafficking, to obtain heroin and other drugs and to collect drug debts, according to the indictment.
The men then sold the stolen heroin at discounted prices or used the stolen money to obtain heroin. They identified potential victims through a variety of ways, including targeting those who appeared to have expensive jewelry or cars or by using women to gather information about potential victims and report back to them. They sometimes used firearms or zip ties to restrain victims, according to the indictment.
The conspirators conducted counter-surveillance on law enforcement, including posting sentries to serve as lookouts. They also shared information about drug traffickers who had been arrested and obtained court documents regarding the details of traffickers’ court dates as a way to warn co-conspirators not to do business with other traffickers who had been arrested, according to the indictment.
Jovan Fussell and others also obtained large quantities of heroin from suppliers in Chicago and transported the drugs to Cleveland, where it was distributed to heroin dealers including Kenneth E. Harris, Gregory Hamilton, David E. McCall, Jr. Pierre A. Campbell and others.
Harris then redistributed the heroin to other individuals, including Frederick L. Darling, Gregory T. Savage, Jr., Terrance L. Fletcher and other dealers. Darling then supplied heroin to several other people for redistribution, including Eugene Miller, Thomas C. McCully and others.
“These defendants used firearms and violence to fund an operation that brought heroin, and the death it causes, from across the country into Greater Cleveland,” Dettelbach said. “Far from some of these defendants’ glamorous view of themselves, the suffering they caused unmasks them for what they are – greedy heroin dealers who cared about little besides money.”
Anthony said: “These individuals represent the worst of the worst, putting everyday citizens in danger by engaging in countless violent acts while lining their pockets with ill-gotten drug money. This wide-ranging investigation is another example of the comprehensive strategy by local, state and federal law enforcement to target, dismantle and eliminate the most significant criminal enterprises in our region.”
“Cuyahoga County is on track this year to set record-breaking numbers for heroin deaths,” McGrath said. “Lives will be saves as a result of the hard work by the Northeast Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force. These arrests are a testament to the great results achieved when law enforcement agencies work together for the common goal of making our streets safe and drug free. Through our cooperative partnership we will continue to seek out those groups and individuals that push poison into our neighborhoods.”
McGinty said: “Let today's raids and indictments-- and the trials and convictions to come -- be a message to those who want to capitalize on addiction: There’s a prison cell already built, the floor is painted, the stainless steel toilet is installed – and it’s waiting for you.”
Those facing federal charges are as follows: Carl Akins, 37, of Cleveland; Darnell Alexander, 29, of Brooklyn; Brandy Bates, 30, of Cleveland Heights; Beneditto Belfiore, 23, of South Euclid; Robert Belk, 27, of Cleveland; Stevenson Black, 47, of Cleveland; Dominique Blair, 28, of Euclid; Latrice Blevins, 39, of Cleveland; Marcus Blue, 30, of Euclid; Michael Buchanan, 48, of Cleveland; Pierre Campbell, 29, of Cleveland; Frederick Darling, 57, of Cleveland; Jacob Derrickson, 25, of Euclid; Leamon Eddie, 46, of Cleveland; Dana Ervin; 51, of Cleveland; Corey Etheridge, 22, of Shaker Heights; Antwon Evans, 30, of University Heights; Frederick Ferrell, 61, of Cleveland Heights; Terrance Fletcher, 40, of Cleveland; Robert Lee Fowlkes, 31, of Cleveland; Jovan Fussell, 33, of Euclid; Maurice Golston, 32, of Cleveland; Jermaine Grayson, 25, of Cleveland; Lachelle Hall, 30, of Euclid; Gregory Hamilton, 37, of Cleveland; Kenneth Harris, 45, of Cleveland; Ryland Harris, 53, of Cleveland; David Harsley, 32, of Cleveland; Erian Harwell, 24, of Cleveland; Carlton Higdon, 44, of Cleveland; Dominique Ivory, 25, of Euclid; Douglas Johnson, 58, of Cleveland; Luther Johnson, 55, of Cleveland; Michael Jones, 50, of Cleveland; Andrew Lovings, 59, of Cleveland; Devonta Maxwell, 30, of Euclid; Dave McCall, 37, of Cleveland; Thomas McCully, 53, of Cleveland; Lamar Middleton, 25, of Cleveland; Eugene Miller, 51, of Cleveland; Sandra Miller, 33, of Painesville; Maceo Moore, 37, of Euclid; Vince Morgan, 22, of North Olmsted; Ed Nix, 48, of Euclid; Dammarkro Nolan, 39, of Painesville; Brenda Norman, 58, of Cleveland; Vernon Norman, 77, of Euclid; Antwone Nowden, 31, of Cleveland; Ivan Percy, 38, of Cleveland; Eric Powell, 38, of Cleveland; Rolando Reed, 23, of Cleveland; Keith Ricks, 31, of Cleveland; Gregory Savage, 53, of Cleveland; Kevin Scott, 47, of Cleveland; Leamon Shephard, 25, of Cleveland; Dionte Thompson, 25, of Cleveland; Jamez Webb, 21, of Cleveland; Jamal Williams, 34, of Cleveland; Shaun Williams, 30, of Cleveland, and Raymundo Wren, 31, of Cleveland.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew W. Shepherd, Daniel J. Riedl and Matthew B. Kall following a multi-year investigation by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force (NOLETF).
The NOLETF is a long standing multi-agency task force comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, 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, Westlake Police Department and Shaker Heights Police Department. The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives. HIDTA supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking in Ohio.
The investigation was assisted by the Hotel Interdiction Team, another HIDTA initiative comprised of members of the FBI, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations and police departments from Broadview Heights, Brooklyn, Brook Park and Independence.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.