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COLUMBUS – A federal grand jury here has returned a 24-count indictment charging three Columbus-area men and a woman with providing and using firearms in illegal drug trafficking crimes.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Robin Shoemaker, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Columbus Field Division (ATF), and Gahanna Police Chief Dennis Murphy announced the indictment today.
The indictment charges Jack A. Morris, 37, of Columbus, Jeremy S. Baker, 25, of Blacklick, fugitive and Judy L. Kindle, 45, of Columbus with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, which are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Morris is also charged with seven counts of possession of one or more firearms during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime. The first count is punishable by at least five years and the other counts are punishable by at least 25 years in prison. Baker and Kindle are also charged with one count of possession of a firearm in relation to a drug crime.
If convicted on all counts, Morris faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 155 years.
The indictment alleges that Morris and others supplied street level distributors of marijuana, cocaine and oxycodone with firearms and body armor as a way of protecting themselves from potential robberies. Morris also placed firearms in strategic locations throughout the house he shared with Kindle in order to intimidate potential robbers and protect the narcotics and proceeds kept at the house.
The indictment charges Christopher W. Wilcox, 30, of Reynoldsburg with two counts of supplying the others with firearms including an AK-47 and an AR-15, knowing that the weapons were to be used in the drug trafficking. Each count is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
"ATF will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to aggressively pursue those individuals who possess and use firearms in furtherance of their illicit activities", stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Shoemaker.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation conducted by ATF and the Gahanna Police officers, and Assistant U.S. Attorney David DeVillers and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Dunbar with Columbus City Attorney Rick Pfeiffer’s Office, who are representing the United States in the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.