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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Fifteen Defendants Charged in Federal Court with Heroin Trafficking and Possession of Firearms in Milwaukee

Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that federal, state, and local law enforcement officers engaged in a significant operation in Milwaukee today that targeted a violent drug-trafficking conspiracy led by Jimmy D. Bates.  The operation coincided with the unsealing of a nine-count indictment that charged Bates and 14 other defendants with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine.  Certain defendants were also charged with possession of firearms in furtherance of the conspiracy; unlawful possession of firearms by a felon; and conspiracy to commit robberies of others who possessed drugs. 

The defendants charged in the indictment are:

 

Name

Age

Residence

Jimmy D. BATES

43

Milwaukee

Calvin NASH

45

Milwaukee

Tavaris CAIN

41

Milwaukee

Marville PAYNE

41

Milwaukee

Wayne POTTS, Jr.

35

Milwaukee

Montel D. IVORY

27

Milwaukee

Dujuan HARRISON

37

Milwaukee

Jebar CANNON

39

Milwaukee

Jason ASHLEY

40

Milwaukee

Anthony MEEKS

32

Mississippi

Paul PARKER

35

Milwaukee

Devon WOOTEN

34

Milwaukee

Dontelle CARR

47

Milwaukee

Shinae CASTINE

32

Milwaukee

Marlon D. PICKENS

41

Milwaukee

 

As part of today’s operation, law enforcement officers executed arrest warrants and search warrants at multiple locations in Milwaukee.  The operation and charges are the culmination of a multi-year investigation that has resulted in the seizure of significant amounts of heroin and cocaine, and at least 15 firearms.      

In court today, prosecutors described the conspiracy as being connected to multiple shooting incidents in the Milwaukee area.  The indictment specifies numerous firearms possessed as part of the conspiracy, including handguns, assault rifles, and a Striker 12-guage shotgun, known as a “Street Sweeper,” which is no longer sold in the United States because federal law defines it as a destructive device.

If convicted of the conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, the defendants face at least a minimum term of 10 years in prison, and up to life.  Convictions on the firearms and robbery-conspiracy counts would expose the defendants to additional terms of incarceration.

The investigation was led by law enforcement officers from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), North Central High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), Milwaukee Police Department (MPD), and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  Multiple additional law enforcement agencies participated in today’s operation, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI); Waukesha County Sheriff’s Office; Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office; West Allis Police Department; Wauwatosa Police Department; and Greenfield Police Department.  

“Today’s operation sends a loud message:  All levels of law enforcement are committed and cooperating to bring justice to drug traffickers and violent criminals in Milwaukee,” said U.S. Attorney Krueger.  “We know that most violent crime is committed by a small number of individuals.  As part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, we are focusing enforcement resources where they are needed most.  At the same time, we know that law enforcement is only part of the solution.  Project Safe Neighborhoods also fosters partnerships with community organizations and positive prisoner reentry efforts to help prevent violent crime.  It will take all parts of our community working together to ensure safe neighborhoods.”   

“The strength of the Drug Enforcement Administration is, in many ways, derived from close relationships forged with our numerous local and federal law enforcement partners.  This significant investigation resulted from the cooperative leadership of Chief Morales and U.S. Attorney Krueger—and of course the dedication of the men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department, other Milwaukee-area police departments, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  The DEA is committed to these partnerships—these force multipliers—to effectively combat criminal organizations responsible for drug threats and violence in Milwaukee and throughout the United States,” said Associate Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Bell. 

 “Having a good relationship with your system partners is crucial to a successful mission,” said Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales.  “Our relationship with the United States Attorney’s Office has led to some great arrests and, more importantly, some great convictions.”

At a press conference held to announce today’s charges, law enforcement leaders noted progress in reducing violent crime in Milwaukee.  As of July 14, 2019, there had been 196 non-fatal shootings in Milwaukee this year.  That is a 35% decrease compared to the same time in 2017, and a 40% decrease compared to a spike in violent crime that occurred in 2015.  Thus, compared to this point in 2015, 133 fewer people were victims of a non-fatal shooting in Milwaukee. 

These enforcement actions and partnerships are part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer.  The U.S. Department of Justice reinvigorated PSN in 2017, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally based strategies to reduce violent crime.  Learn more about Project Safe Neighborhoods.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Laura S. Kwaterski and Assistant United States Attorney Philip T. Kovoor.

The public is cautioned that an indictment is merely a charge and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Updated July 16, 2019