Fourth Member of Cincinnati Drug Trafficking Ring Receives Ten-Year Sentence
CINCINNATI – Four defendants involved in a major cocaine and heroin trafficking ring in the Cincinnati area have been sentenced on related charges in U.S. District Court.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Division, Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office and Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot K. Isaac, announced the sentences handed down by United States District Court Judge Timothy S. Black.
Christopher Whitfield, 42, of Cincinnati, Ohio was sentenced today to 120 months in prison after pleading guilty earlier this year to on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Tonia Whitfield, 41, of Cincinnati, Ohio was sentenced on December 14, 2015 to 12 months and one day in prison on three counts of money laundering.
Steven Griffin, 41, of Cincinnati, Ohio was sentenced on January 13, 2016 to 87 months in prison on one count each of possession with intent to distribute heroin and a felon in possession of a firearm.
Icierra Martin, 39, of Cincinnati, Ohio was sentenced on May 23, 2016 to three years of probation on two counts of money maundering.
A federal grand jury indicted the defendants in a 23-count indictment returned in April 2015. The indictment outlined that the group conspired to facilitate an illegal drug business, primarily cocaine and heroin.
As part of the conspiracy, the defendants operated “stash” houses to process, cut, package and store the drugs as well as firearms and money. In order to conceal the money generated from the drug sales, defendants would launder the profits by purchasing real and personal property and place assets in the names of other individuals.
Upon executing search warrants in this case, investigators seized more than $1 million in cash at the properties maintained by the narcotics trafficking organization.
Also included in forfeiture in this case are: seven firearms, three properties in Cincinnati, five vehicles including two luxury vehicles and a motorcycle, multiple pieces of jewelry, Gucci and Rolex watches, two ballistic vests, a number of “mink” fur coats and vests, 13 designer handbags and Beats headphones and ear buds.
“This is an important victory for the citizens of Cincinnati,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs. Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers could not finance their organizations. We are committed to taking the profit away from the drug traffickers and putting those individuals in jail.”
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by local and federal law enforcement, including the IRS, FBI and Cincinnati Police Department, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Karl Kadon and Jessica W. Knight, who represented the United States in this case.