Thirty-One People Indicted For Role In Conspiracy That Brought Heroin To Northeast Ohio
Thirty-one people were indicted in federal court for their roles in a conspiracy that brought heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine to Northeast Ohio from Chicago and south Texas and then distributed the drugs from homes on the east side of Cleveland, law enforcement officials announced.
Filing of the 107-count indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, Cuyahoga County Sheriff Frank Bova, Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office, and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
According to the indictment:
The ring operated from at least 2010 through this month. The group obtained multiple-kilogram shipments of drugs from suppliers in Chicago and McAllen, Texas, as well as Cleveland and Toledo.
The ring utilized several homes and locations in Cleveland to store and distribute the heroin, cocaine and crack cocaine, including 3991 Superior Ave., 1481 East 71st Street, 1162 East 58th Street and 7610 Linwood Ave.
Leaders of the conspiracy, including Mark Makupson, Harry R. Hubbard and Harvest White, then used the proceeds of their drug dealing to purchase buildings or residences in Cleveland, including 1687 East 70th Street, 1075 East 74th Street and 3800 Lakeside Ave., Suite 201.
Investigators seized more than seven kilograms of heroin, one kilogram of cocaine and 10 firearms.
“Northeast Ohio, like many parts of the country, has been hit hard by the heroin epidemic,” U.S. Attorney Dettelbach said. “We continue to work together on a comprehensive solution that includes prevention, treatment and enforcement. Today’s indictment demonstrates that law enforcement in this region continues to stand united in going after the organizations that profit from this poison that ruins lives and destroys families.”
Special Agent in Charge Anthony said: “Enforcement is a key strategy in reducing both the supply and demand of heroin in Northeast Ohio. The law enforcement community is committed to working together to prosecute those responsible for fueling Ohio’s heroin epidemic.”
“The Cleveland Division of Police, along with its local and federal law enforcement partners, pledges to continue its ongoing battle against the heroin epidemic and drug trafficking in this area,” Chief Williams said.
“All our law enforcement partners will continue to bring the fight to the heroin epidemic from all angles,” Sheriff Bova said.
“The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs,” said Special Agent in Charge Enstrom. “IRS Criminal Investigation is committed with taking the profit away from drug traffickers and together with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we will hold those who engage in drug trafficking accountable.”
“Drug dealers peddle death and addiction, and we can’t afford their destruction in Northeast Ohio or anywhere else in our state,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “The heroin epidemic is complex and will take continued law enforcement coordination at every level, as well as community education and treatment efforts.”
Makupson, Hubbard, White, and Reuben Bell pooled their money travelled to Chicago to obtain large amounts of heroin from Gardner Witt. Other times they obtained heroin from Dammarkro Nolan, who got it from Witt. Then Makupson, Hubbard, White and Bell distributed the heroin to nearly 20 other dealers in Cleveland, according to the indictment
Prosecutors are also seeking to forfeit nearly $750,000 in cash and three automobiles seized in this investigation, including a 2003 Hummer H2, a 2007 Mercedes Benz G500 and a 1967 Pontiac Bonneville customized convertible.
The indictment lists scores of narcotics transactions that took place.
Indicted in Count 1, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine, are: Mark A. Makupson, 33, of Cleveland; Darvinna Shaver, 35, of Cleveland; Harry R. Hubbard, 29, of Cleveland; Harvest White, 29, of Euclid; James Terrell McClain, 32, of Cleveland; Jermaine Moorer, 36, of Cleveland; Michael Shephard, 35, of Cleveland; Brian Singleton, 34, of Cleveland; Dammarkro Sherron Nolan, Sr., 39, of Cleveland; Melissa White, 26, of Cleveland Heights; Monique Tisdel, 35, of South Euclid; Anthony Hodges, 31, of Cleveland; Rueben Tyrone Bell, 27, of Cleveland; Tatiana Squair, 25, of Tinley Park, IL; Dionna Smith, 31, of Maple Grove, MN; Lonnie Gwin, 37, of Defiance; Donique Williams, 23, of Cleveland; Gardner Witt, 43, of Chicago, IL; Angel Manuel Fuentes Delgado, 32, of Cleveland; Rudius A. Brown, 30, of Euclid; Gerardo Rodriguez, 27, of Cleveland; Ishmael Wahid, 41, of Akron; James M. Griffin, 34, of Chicago, IL; Ricole Braxton, 32, of Cleveland; Carmelita Seay, 31, of Cleveland; Michelle Williams, 53, of Cleveland; Tony Goodwin, 26, of East Cleveland; Ariyen Flakes, 28, of Cleveland, and Milton Bridges, 26, of Cleveland.
Nicole Lewis, 37, of Cleveland, and Latoya Johnson, 30, of Cleveland, are indicted for conspiracy to launder money, as are Makupson, Shaver, White, Bell, Squair, and Witt. These defendants hid the profits from the drug conspiracy through a series of financial transactions, such as using cash from drug deals to purchase real estate and automobiles, according to the indictment.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Vasile Katsaros and Christian M. Stickan and Margaret Tomaro, a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney who works for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The case was investigated by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force. The task force is a longstanding multi-agency group comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Division of Police, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Police, Cleveland Heights Police, Drug Enforcement Administration, Euclid Police, Homeland Security Investigations, Internal Revenue Service, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Regional Transit Authority Police, Shaker Heights Police and Westlake Police. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office also assisted with the case.
The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives. HIDTA supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking in Ohio.
If convicted, the 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.
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.