CLEVELAND – Federal, county and local law enforcement officials today announced that 18 individuals were charged for their roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy that involved the distribution of fentanyl in Cleveland and the Wayne County area. Some were arrested during an early morning operation and transported to federal court in Cleveland.
This announcement is made by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Tom Gergye, and Director Joshua Hunt of the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency.
“While so many of us have been working tirelessly to make our communities a safer and better place to live, the defendants charged in these indictments have been doing otherwise,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle M. Baeppler. “Today’s indictments and arrests reflect the resolve of law enforcement at all levels to hold drug traffickers accountable and return our neighborhoods to a better tomorrow.”
“Possession and distribution of illegal narcotics and the illegal possession of firearms will not be tolerated in our communities or by the good citizens who live there,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Tom Gergye. “Likewise, the DEA will continue its targeted, exhaustive, and collaborative efforts with our local, state and federal partners to identify and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that bring poison and violence into our neighborhoods.”
“Our unending commitment to this community is to work relentlessly in collaboration with our law enforcement partners at every level, bringing every combined resource to bear with the unified mission to deliver those persons to justice who contribute to this deadly scourge” said Director Joshua Hunt of the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency located in Wayne County, Ohio. “I'm immensely proud of the collective achievements born from this 2-year investigation, while I also remain dedicated to ensuring that this important work continues well into the future.”
The following is a breakdown of the charges:
Charged in a 36-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances, distribution of a controlled substance, possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and use of a communications facility to facilitate a drug trafficking offense are:
Charles Daniels, 45, State of Ohio Custody; Deandre Wilson, 46, Federal Custody; Jason Johnson, 46, State of Ohio Custody; Blaze Cody Mclaughlin, 32, Federal
Custody; Anthony Ray Lies, 40, Rittman, Ohio; Nicholas Knapik, 39, State of Ohio Custody; Jordan Jarvis, 34, State of Ohio Custody; David Stark, 45, State of Ohio Custody; Roger Stark, 44, Wooster, Ohio; Sebastian Yeagley, 32, Wooster, Ohio; Cody Smith, 28, Wooster, Ohio; John Harig, Jr. 43, Wooster, Ohio; Caleb Smith 30, State of Ohio Custody; Elijah Goshen 31, Cleveland, Ohio; Cassandra Vojacek, 40, Perry, Ohio; Chad Anderson, 38, Columbus, Ohio; Blake Nowak, 45, Burton, Ohio.
According to the indictments, between as early as on or about October, 1, 2020, and continuing through on or about February 28, 2023, the defendants did knowingly and intentionally conspire with each other to distribute and possess with the intention to distribute a mixture and substance containing fentanyl. Johnson was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of a firearm and U.S. Currency.
Charles Daniels recruited drug dealers from Wayne County, Ohio, to purchase fentanyl from sources designated by him, including but not limited to Deandre Wilson and Jason Johnson for further distribution throughout the Northern District of Ohio.
Daniels contacted Wilson and Johnson and arranged for them to sell fentanyl to the Wayne County drug dealers at a discounted price per gram. Daniels provided the Wayne County drug dealers with the contact information for Wilson and Johnson for the purpose of obtaining fentanyl for distribution.
Charged in a 2-count indictment with distribution of a controlled substance containing methamphetamine is Markus Ellison of Wooster, Ohio, State of Ohio Custody.
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.
If convicted, each defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
The investigation preceding the indictments was conducted by the DEA, Medway Drug Enforcement Agency, the Wooster Police Department, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio State Patrol, Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections and the Ohio National Guard Intelligence Analysts. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Payum Doroodian.