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Press Release

Violent Indianapolis heroin trafficking organization dismantled

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana
Westside organization responsible for distributing kilograms of heroin and methamphetamine to Indianapolis neighborhoods.

Indianapolis – United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced today the arrests of 11 members belonging to a drug trafficking organization which distributed heroin and methamphetamine in the Indianapolis area. Further, they ordered acts of violence against those perceived as competitors.

“This is the face of organized crime today. These defendants are some of the most violent in Indianapolis,” said Minkler. “Not only did they sell large quantities of narcotics but most had prior felony convictions, possessed and used firearms and threatened acts of violence in furtherance of their crimes.”

Beginning in December 2014 through August 2105, David McMichel, a/k/a White Boy, a/k/a David Webster 31, Indianapolis, allegedly ran a drug trafficking organization from his home on the Westside of Indianapolis. The McMichel Drug Trafficking Organization (MDTO) moved large quantities of heroin and methamphetamine from suppliers in Arizona to Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and other locations. The MDTO obtained most of its drug supply from Fernando Vaca-Mata, 32, and Jose Prieto, 33, to be redistributed to lower level dealers.

As leader of the MDTO, McMichel negotiated with suppliers to obtain pound quantities of the narcotics. Further, he distributed and supervised the delivery of the narcotics and acquisition of weapons, collected proceeds from the narcotics sales and arranged to store the narcotics in stash houses around Indianapolis.

Throughout the months’-long investigation, McMichel ran the MDTO from his home while on house arrest serving a sentence for his third felony conviction. According to the complaint, a court authorized wiretap intercepted McMichel ordering shootings. McMichel stated he had a “list a block long” of individuals he wanted dead. He had members of the MDTO obtain photographs from Facebook of some of his intended targets.

Based on the wiretap, law enforcement intervened and arrested James Caldwell, a/k/a Bo, who was in possession of a loaded 9mm handgun before any acts of violence could take place. Caldwell was on probation for manslaughter and could not legally possess a firearm.

Arrest and search warrants were served early this morning by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. At 1220 N Groff Av, a suspect fired a handgun through the door of the bedroom she was occupying. Officers did not return fire and no one was injured. Over the nine-month investigation, 19 firearms, $160,000 in cash and several pounds of heroin, and methamphetamine were confiscated. Also recovered were two ballistic vests. Law enforcement documented 36 drug transactions in the furtherance of the drug organization’s goal of infesting the westside with heroin and methamphetamine.


Also arrested:

Sophia Gutierrez, 33

Steven Nichols, a/k/a Stevie, 39

Shewanna Jackson, 32

Tyrel Barker, a/k/a T, 48

James Caldwell, a/k/a Bo, 37

Michael Wrightsman, a/k/a Mike Mike, 42

Forest Toliver, a/k/a Bear, 33

Beronta Smith, a/k/a B12, 36

Jacob Dodson a/k/a Jake, 24, remains a fugitive

Steven Eldridge, Jr. a/k/a Little Stevie, 21, remains a fugitive.


“Violence and drug dealing go hand in hand” said DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Greg Westfall.  “Attacking heroin traffickers in unison with our outstanding law enforcement partners is DEA’s number one priority.”

“The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department continues to work with our state and federal partners to reduce violence and drug trafficking in Indianapolis,” said Chief Rick Hite.  “Today’s operation ends a long-term, sophisticated investigation with the arrest of twelve suspects involved in drug trafficking within our community.  We will continue our commitment to make Indianapolis a safe place to work and raise a family.”

This case was jointly investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Hamilton-Boone County Drug Task Force, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Metro Drug Task Force and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey D. Preston who is prosecuting this case for the government, all defendants face decades of time in federal prison if convicted.

A complaint is merely a charge and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a federal court.




Updated September 2, 2015