OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA
William J. Ihlenfeld, II
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Chris Zumpetta-Parr, Public Affairs Specialist
TWENTY-NINE INDICTED FOR TRAFFICKING OF PAIN PILLS, HEROIN, COCAINE
24 Arrested, 5 Still Wanted
WHEELING, WV – Twenty-nine people have been charged as a result of a multi-state law enforcement investigation targeting narcotics trafficking in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, according to United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II. An arrest operation took place early this morning and led to the arrest of twenty-four defendants. Five defendants are still at large and are being sought by law enforcement.
On Tuesday a federal grand jury sitting in Wheeling returned two separate indictments with a total of 87 counts related to the distribution of heroin, oxycodone, and cocaine throughout the tri-state area. The investigation leading to the charges became operational in September of 2011 and included extensive surveillance, controlled purchases of narcotics, executions of search warrants, and seizures of narcotics, automobiles, and United States Currency.
“These indictments and arrests make our community a safer place to live,” said Ihlenfeld. “A significant drug trafficking organization has been dismantled and a number of career criminals have been taken off the streets.”
The first indictment charges RICHARD L. BARON, 50 years old of Triadelphia, West Virginia, with multiple counts of “Distribution of Oxycodone” and “Distribution of Heroin”, as well as “Conspiracy to Distribute Schedule I and Schedule II Controlled Substances.” BARON and twenty-four others are alleged to have been involved in a conspiracy from December of 2011 until May of 2012 involving the illegal distribution of tens of thousands of pain pills as well as heroin.
In addition to BARON, others charged in the conspiracy include SAMNEISHA WALKER, 23 years old of Wheeling, WV; LETITIA TAMBI, 31 years old of Wheeling, WV; ROBIN RUSK, 35 years old of Wheeling, WV; DOUGLAS LEE SAUNDERS, 52 years old, of Columbus, Ohio; and RICHARD L. FISCHER, 37 years old of Wheeling, WV.
The United States is seeking a money judgement from BARON and others in the amount of $250,000, as well as a 2010 Dodge Charger registered to TAMBI, a 2010 Chevrolet Silverado K3500 registered to FISCHER, and a 2006 Cadillac CTS registered to BARON.
Those wanted but not yet captured are as follows:
ROBERT “ROBBIE” PETERSON, 34 years old, of Wheeling, WV
DEANDRE “DRE” ESTELLE, 42 years old, of Wheeling, WV
TEO “TEDDY” MARCERO COLEMAN, 31 years old, of Cleveland, OH
ELLIOT ROSS FITZSIMMONS, 22 years old, of Wheeling, WV
DOUGLAS LEE SAUNDERS, 42 years old, of Columbus, OJ
Source cities for the pills in the Baron indictment are believed to be Columbus, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; and Baltimore, Maryland.
The second indictment charges KYMBERLY MULL, 44 years old of Wheeling, West Virginia, with multiple counts of “Distribution of Heroin” and “Distribution of Oxycodone”, as well as “Conspiracy to Distribute Schedule I and Schedule II Controlled Substances.” MULL was charged with a total of 25 felonies for her alleged role in the scheme, and federal agents have already seized from MULL a 2011 Chevrolet Corvette, a 2005 Hummer H2, and a 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab, with the intent to forfeit those vehicles. A money judgment is also being sought against MULL and others in the amount of at least $100,000.
In addition to MULL, three others were charged in the second indictment: FELICIA CROSS, 25 years old, of Martins Ferry, Ohio; BENJAMIN W. PRIMUS, II, 24 years old, of Bellaire, Ohio, and DUANE WILLIAMS, 45 years old, of Imperial, Pennsylvania.
CROSS, PRIMUS, and WILLIAMS are all alleged to have been involved in the conspiracy with MULL to distribute Schedule I and Schedule II Controlled Substances.
The source state for most of the heroin referenced in the Mull indictment was Pennsylvania, while the pain pills came from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
“I want to acknowledge the outstanding work of the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force, and each of the police departments and law enforcement agencies that participated in this substantial investigation and the many arrests today,” said Ihlenfeld. “This operation speaks to the commitment of federal law enforcement and our state and local partners to reduce drug trafficking and the crimes that flow from it.”
All of those indicted face prison sentences, or fines, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
“Due to the combined efforts of the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force, the Hancock Brooke Weirton Drug Task Force and the DEA a significant drug trafficking organization out of Wheeling, WV has been torn apart,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis. “This investigation exemplifies how positive working relationships can result in the identification and arrest of narcotic trafficking offenders.”
Ihlenfeld stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force, which includes officers and agents from the Wheeling Police Department, the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Substantial assistance was provided by the Hancock-Brooke -Weirton Drug Task Force, which is made up of Weirton Police Officers, Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputies, and DEA Agents.
These cases will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy Bernard.
Please see the attached Defendant Data Sheets for specific charges on each defendant.
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