Columbus Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Rackteering Conspiracy, Including Zanesville Murder
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Deshawn M. Smith, 29, of Columbus, Ohio pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court today to one count of racketeering conspiracy in connection with a case involving the organized criminal enterprise known as the Short North Posse. Smith’s trial was scheduled to begin on Monday, September 26.
As part of his plea, he took responsibility for one previously unsolved murder, Shane McCuen on March 11, 2008 in Zanesville.
Smith’s plea contains a sentencing range of at least 30 and up to 35 years in prison.
Benjamin C. Glassman, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Brad Earman, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the plea entered into today before U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
A total of 20 individuals were indicted in the racketeering case with charges that included murders, attempted murders, drug trafficking, weapons offenses, witness tampering, extortion and robbery.
A United States District Court jury convicted five co-defendants of racketeering and murder in June. After a two-month trial, the group of defendants was convicted on all counts, which accounted for 10 of 14 previously unsolved murders. The trial for the final defendant is scheduled for November 28.
Acting U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the two-year investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, Columbus Police, Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott’s Office, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s Office, Fairfield County Prosecutor Gregg Marx, Licking County Prosecutor Kenneth Oswalt, Muskingum County Prosecutor D. Michael Haddox, Ross County Prosecutor Matthew S. Schmidt, law enforcement leaders from those counties, officials of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys David DeVillers, Kevin Kelley and Brian Martinez, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Lowe of Franklin County Prosecutor O’Brien’s Office, who are representing the United States in the case.