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Press Release

16 Convicted In Joint Federal And State Drug Trafficking Investigation

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

More than $30,000 in drug proceeds and 10 firearms seized and forfeited in charges stemming from heroin connection between Chicago and Steubenville, Ohio

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies were recognized today for their efforts in the eventual conviction of 16 individuals and the seizure and forfeiture of more than $30,000 and 10 firearms.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and William J. Ihlenfeld, II, United States Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia, commended the two-year investigation by law enforcement in Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio; Weirton, W. Va. and Chicago, Ill. 

The investigation, dubbed “Chicago Boys” due to significant ties between the drug traffickers in the Steubenville area and suppliers and traffickers from the Greater Chicago area, led to the conviction of 16 individuals on federal and state charges related to narcotics trafficking and evidence tampering, as well as the seizure and forfeiture of more than $30,000 and 10 firearms.  Leaders of the drug organization ultimately admitted responsibility for distributing as much as 30 kilograms of heroin in the Steubenville area during an approximate two year period.

“Heroin is impacting the lives of Americans in every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life,” U.S. Attorney Stewart said. “The Steubenville area is no exception to this, which is why cooperative law enforcement efforts such as this one are so needed. The coordination represented by this effort illustrates a serious law enforcement commitment to loosening the grip that heroin has on our communities.”

“Whenever drug traffickers travel to the Ohio Valley from places like Chicago to sell heroin, significant federal resources will be allocated to disrupt and dismantle their operation,” said U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld.  “The convictions and sentences announced today are proof that great results can be achieved by combining intelligence and resources from law enforcement agencies that span multiple jurisdictions.  My office in Northern West Virginia will continue to work with Mr. Stewart’s office in Southern Ohio to investigate and prosecute these cases, and in the end the communities that we serve will be safer places to live and raise a family.”

Stewart and Ihlenfeld, joined by officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Marshal Peter Tobin, Cincinnati Field Division, representatives of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane M. Hanlin, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla, Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty, Wintersville Police Chief  Edward Laman and Toronto Police Chief Randy Henry praised the investigative and prosecutorial efforts of the coalition of agencies, and recognized the Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Jefferson County Drug Task Force, the Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force, and agents in the Cambridge FBI Office, recognizing their collaboration, professionalism and effectiveness in the investigation.

Convicted of federal charges for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin were:

Kinlawyed Hendrix, aka “Lo”, 27, Steubenville, Ohio
Calvin D. Bryant Jr., aka “Gunz”, 26, Canton, Ohio
Robert L. Simmons Jr., aka “Chase”, 19, Steubenville, Ohio
Jessie O. Birden, aka “J-Money”, 21, Steubenville, Ohio
Berryon F. Moore, III, aka “Pumpkin”, 25, Steubenville, Ohio
Joseph L. Dennis, 30, aka “JD” Toronto, Ohio
Sean Loveless, 29 aka “Puff” Steubenville, Ohio
Steven James, 36, Chicago, Ill.
Kyle M. Irvin, 30, Chicago, Ill.
Charles H. Thompson, 28, Chicago, Ill.

Convicted of state charges related to drug trafficking and tampering with evidence were:

Lavinia Hearon, 29, Chicago, Ill.                
Jacari Benson, 30, Weirton, W. Va.                          
Frederick L. McGowan, 39, Madison WI  
Robert Jackson, 32, Steubenville, Ohio                                                 
Harry E. Stackhouse, 25, Steubenville, Ohio           
Rashann D. Mukes, 28, Steubenville, Ohio              

Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin is a federal crime punishable by 10 years to up to life in prison. Possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a maximum federal sentence of 40 years in prison.

U.S. Attorneys Stewart and Ihlenfeld also commended the cooperative efforts of the Ohio State Highway Patrol in the investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service in Ohio and Illinois who participated in the arrests in the case, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Michael Hunter and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jane Hanlin who prosecuted the federal cases.

Updated July 23, 2015