Three from Northeast Ohio indicted for distributing cocaine
Three people from Northeast Ohio were arrested this morning for their roles in a cocaine distribution conspiracy, said Acting U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office.
Named in the nine-count indictment are: Christopher Fitzgerald, 41, of Bedford Heights; Rashard Smith, 42, of Northfield, and Chiquita Anderson, 42, of Bedford.
Fitzgerald and Smith worked as couriers at a domestic shipping company and used their positions to ship kilograms of cocaine from California to Cleveland. Anderson maintained a premises to assist in the cocaine distribution, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors are seeking to forfeit the money involved in the alleged crime.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Margaret Sweeney and Michelle M. Baeppler following an investigation by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records (if any), the defendants’ role in the offense, and the characteristics of the violation.
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.