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Press Release

Eleven people from the Mahoning Valley indicted for their roles distributing crack and powder cocaine in the Youngstown area

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

Eleven people from the Mahoning Valley were indicted for their roles distributing crack and powder cocaine in the Youngstown area.

Several people also face related firearms charges.

Named in a 45-count indictment are: Robert Taylor, 58, of Youngstown; Raymond L. Rue, 39, of Liberty; Sadiya Az-Zahra Sow, aka Tina Robinson, 47, of Youngstown; Daniel M. Ortello, Jr., 30, of Niles; Terrell D. Green, 46, of Youngstown; Dewon R. Dawson, 35, of Youngstown; Darrell Dawson, 46, of Youngstown, and Bradley E. Weitzel, 61, of Butler, Pennsylvania.

All eight people are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine. Taylor and Dewon Dawson also face firearms charges.

The indictment alleges that from in or around August 2017 through June 2018, the defendants conspired to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine in the Youngstown area.

According to the indictment, Taylor supplied cocaine to Sow, Rue, Ortello and Green for distribution in the Youngstown area. Sow supplied cocaine to the Dawsons and Weitzel for distribution in Youngstown and Western Pennsylvania.

Rue and Dewon Dawson cooked powder cocaine into crack cocaine, according to the indictment.

In a separate four-count indictment, Robin Rutledge, 48, of Youngstown, was charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, as well as firearms crimes.

Another 26-count indictment charges Nicki L. Warfield, 42, of Warren, John Weaver, Jr., 62, of  Warren, and the aforementioned Sadiya Az-Zahra Sow with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine.

Warfield, Weaver and Sow conspired to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine in the Warren and Youngstown areas between December 2017 through May 2018, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors are seeking to forfeit approximately 22 firearms, ammunition and $258,324 seized as part of these investigations, according to court documents.

“These defendants are accused of bringing large amounts of cocaine into the Mahoning Valley, which they sold for profit,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “Taking this group off the street, along with the dozens of firearms associated with them, will make Youngstown, Warren and the entire region safer.”

“This network of individuals brought danger and violence to our communities through their trafficking of illegal drugs,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “The FBI's well established law enforcement network, through long standing task force partnerships, have disrupted this illegal business and these defendants will be held accountable in court.”

“The success of this law enforcement operation and others like it, would not be possible without the collaborative efforts of the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force (MVLETF) and Federal Bureau of Investigation,” said Sergeant Laurence McLaughlin, Commander of the MVLETF. “The Youngstown FBI office and MVLETF have a long history of working together and continue to have a positive impact in reducing narcotics trafficking and violence within Mahoning Valley. The MVLETF is thankful for their professional working relationships with the Department of Justice and the FBI.”

“There is no place in our community for those who use firearms for violent, criminal purposes,” said Kyle Walton, Acting Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Columbus Field Division. “ATF will continue to work with our law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local levels to ensure those individuals are brought to justice.”

If convicted, the defendants’ sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique

to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any, the defendants’ role in the offenses and the characteristics of the violations.  In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

These case are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Toepfer. They were investigated by  Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Youngstown Police Department.

The MVLETF is comprised of agents and officers from the Austintown Police Department , ATF, FBI , Hubbard City Police Department, Liberty Township Police Department, Poland Township Police Department, Mahoning County Sheriff's Office, Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, Springfield Police Department, Struthers City Police Department, Vienna Township Police Department, Youngstown City Police Department and Youngstown State University Police Department .

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.

Updated April 11, 2019

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses