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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Indiana

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Federal Grand Jury In Fort Wayne Returns Indictments In Large Scale Cocaine Distribution Network

Fort Wayne, Indiana - The United States Attorney's Office announced today two indictments charging six persons in what is alleged to be the largest cocaine distribution network in the greater Ft. Wayne area.

These indictments were the result of an extensive law enforcement investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Fort Wayne Safe Streets Task Force.  In addition to the FBI, that Task Force consists of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, the Ft. Wayne Police Department and the Indiana State Police.

Charged with conspiracy to deliver more than 5 kilograms of cocaine were:

Allan L. Bates, age 37, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, 
James W. Lepper, 66, of Butler, Indiana,
Larry J. Norton, 63 of Mission Texas, formerly of Fort Wayne,
Eric D. White, 52 of Fort Wayne, Indiana and
Ryan Bowman, 35 of Payne, Ohio.

Charged in a separate indictment with possession with intent to deliver over 5 kilograms of cocaine is DeWayne Lewis, age 40, of Greenwood, Indiana.

All defendants are in custody and are being held without bond.  During the course of this extensive investigation, law enforcement executed 17 federal searches in Indiana, Ohio and Texas.  In addition, the DeKalb County and Johnson County Prosecutor’s offices obtained 2 state search warrants. All of these searches resulted in the seizure of more than 100 kilograms of cocaine, over $5.9 million in U.S. currency, and numerous firearms and vehicles.

Great assistance was also provided by the McAllen, Texas, and Toledo, Ohio, offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Marshals Service – Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, along with the Auburn Police Department, the Greenwood Police Department, the Kendallville Police Department, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, the Indiana Multi-Agency Group Enforcement (IMAGE) representing law enforcement in DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben Counties, and the Northeast Indiana SWAT.

            This case has been assigned to and will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony W. Geller.

The United States Attorney's Office emphasized that an Indictment is merely an allegation and that all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

If convicted in court, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Updated April 30, 2015