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Justice News

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Parma Couple Indicted For Distributing Heroin And Operating A Drug House

A five-count indictment was filed today charging a Parma couple with running a heroin distribution operation from an apartment on West 50th Street, said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Michael A. Austin, 34, and Chavone Burnett, 32, both of Parma, were charged with conspiracy, multiple counts of possession with the intent to distribute heroin, and maintaining one or more properties for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing and using heroin.

Austin, with the assistance of Burnett, obtained Apartment 3305 at 5556 Broadview Road (Midtown Tower Apartments) in Parma, to list as his residence with Austin’s U.S. Probation Officer. With Burnett’s assistance, he also obtained another residence at 5223 West 50th Street, Parma, for the purpose of storing and distributing heroin, as well as paraphernalia such as scales and baggies, according to the indictment.

Austin and Burnett obtained heroin from various distributors throughout Cleveland with intent to distribute the heroin at various dates in April 2014, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors are seeking to forfeit $11,243 in cash seized from the two Parma addresses.

The indictment results from an investigation conducted by the Parma Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The case was presented for indictment by Assistant United States Attorneys Christian Stickan and Special Assistant United States Attorney Margaret Tomaro, of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

If convicted, the defendants’ 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.

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 March 12, 2015