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CINCINNATI – A 13-month investigation by the FBI Cincinnati Safe Streets Task Force has resulted in charges against 20 people alleged to be members of a drug trafficking organization in Cincinnati’s East Clifton Avenue area of Over-the-Rhine. FBI tactical teams, Special Agents and task force officers began arresting the defendants this morning.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Edward J. Hanko, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation Cincinnati Field Office (FBI) announced the charges in an indictment and two complaints which were unsealed following the arrests.
The indictment alleges that the individuals conspired to “corner the market” for distribution of heroin in Over-the-Rhine. All are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin and crack cocaine, a crime punishable by at least ten years and up to life in prison.
Eighteen defendants, all from Cincinnati, are named in an indictment returned on February 20, 2013 and unsealed today are:
Shantez Rembert, aka “Tez, 21, Demico Higgins, aka “Freak””Mico” “Meco”, 32
Frederick Benton III, aka “Red”, 35 Brien Champion, aka “Wienerhead” “B”, 29
David McPherson, aka “Dae Dae”, 38 Eric Brock, aka “E” “Big Head E”, 31
Casey Brock, 28 Antonio Montgomery, aka “Slice”, 27
Eric Gunn, aka “Rambo” “Bo”, 21 Frederick Baskin, aka “Freddy”, 50
Ralph Evans, 21 Damian Finnerson, aka “Dane”, 23
Dwayne Finnerson, aka “Weezy”, 30 Yolanda Rembert, 42
Sholanda Rembert, 25 Shawniece Grant-Cavins, aka “Nae Nae”, 21
Martha Clark, 19 McKinley Barnwell, aka “Kenny”, 60
Criminal complaints have been filed against two others, Mario Harris, 27 and Tonya M. Jackson, 31.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by task force officers which includes FBI agents, Cincinnati Police officers and members of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karl Kadon is representing the United States in the case.
The indictment also alleges that Higgins distributed a large amount of crack cocaine on a single occasion. The indictment charges some of the individuals with running “stash houses” for the drug trafficking organization, including operations near playgrounds and schools.
The defendants will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman on Monday, March 4, who will determine whether or not they will be released on bond and schedule dates for future court appearances.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.