AKRON – Ramel Drew, age 45, of Cleveland, Ohio, was sentenced to 327 months (more than 27 years) in prison by U.S. District Judge John R. Adams. In March 2023, a jury convicted Drew of one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, one count of possession with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, one count of distribution of fentanyl, and one count of use of a communications facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Judge Adams also ordered Drew to pay a $400 special assessment and to serve a term of supervised release to follow his term of incarceration.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, the FBI and other law enforcement partners conducted a long- term investigation and determined that members of the conspiracy were selling fentanyl to customers at multiple locations in Cleveland, and that Ramel Drew was involved in the drug trafficking conspiracy.
On August 31, 2021, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies executed search warrants at seven houses connected to the drug organization, and seized over a kilogram of fentanyl, numerous firearms, ammunition, high-speed money counters, drug presses, a vacuum-sealer used to package drugs and money, over $68,000 in cash, jewelry, and multiple high-end vehicles, including two Range Rovers and a Jaguar.
One of the houses searched was on East 89th Street in Cleveland, which the FBI had identified as a location where customers came from as far away as Lorain County and Ashland County to buy fentanyl. Video evidence revealed Ramel Drew and other conspirators were selling drugs to customers in the driveway of a residence. Testimony at trial also established that Drew and his coconspirators shared a cell phone that drug customers would call to arrange the drug purchases.
Drew was one of 24 defendants indicted in the case, which was the result of a coordinated effort by the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). All 24 defendants, including Drew, were convicted.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Cartel, Gang, Narcotics, and Laundering Task Force (CGNL) and IRS Criminal Investigation, with assistance from the Cleveland Division of Police, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, the Ohio Investigative Unit, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Cleveland Heights Police Department, the Southeast Area Law Enforcement Task Force (SEALE), the ATF, the U.S. Marshals Service, the DEA, and the Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Laboratory.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James Lewis, Joseph Dangelo, and James Morford.