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Press Release

Local man sentenced to prison for distributing opioids on behalf of interstate drug ring

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

DAYTON – A Dayton man was sentenced in U.S. District Court today for selling opioids as part of an Atlanta-to-Dayton drug trafficking organization known as
“Diamond Cut” that is responsible for distributing large quantities of fentanyl and heroin in the Dayton area.


James Easterling, 36, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. He is currently in custody and was sentenced via video conference from prison.


According to his plea agreement, on June 13, 2019, Easterling sold approximately 112 grams of fentanyl and heroin in Montgomery County in exchange for several thousand dollars in cash.


In February 2019, investigators received information about the Diamond Cut drug organization distributing drugs from the Saint Clair Lofts located on South Saint Clair Street in Dayton. The co-conspirators were allegedly keeping large amounts of fentanyl, heroin and several firearms in an abandoned green Ford sedan in the parking lot behind the Lofts.


The co-conspirators allegedly moved their drug operations from the Saint Clair Lofts to North Upland Avenue in March 2019.


Drug stash houses were also maintained on Homesite Drive in Harrison Township and Kipling Drive and Belmont Park North in Dayton.


Others charged in this case include: Levy K. Smith IV and Benjamin G. Vaughn. Vaughn was sentenced in March 2020 to 60 months in prison. Smith has pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 12.


Vaughn was a defendant in a 2008 drug trafficking case prosecuted by this office and involving several other individuals. In that case, Vaughn was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison.


In 2018, three other Diamond Cut associates were sentenced in federal court in Dayton for drug and gun crimes. Clarence Winn, Jr. – a Dayton rap artist known as “Chaos” – was sentenced to 108 months in prison. His relative, Larry Winn, was sentenced to 60 months in prison. Darrius J. Reynolds was sentenced to 18 months in prison.


Another five alleged Diamond Cut members were prosecuted federally after a 2012 arrest. They included: Brandon Lee “Ace” Smith, Quinton “Big Mike” Clemons, Leo “Butter” Boykins, Quinten “Q” Robinson and Marcus “Roscoe” Ross.


David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Chris Hoffman, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division; Vance Callender, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck and officials with the FBI’s Southern Ohio Safe Streets Task Force and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office RANGE Task Force announced the sentence imposed by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Thomas M. Rose. Assistant United States Attorneys Brent G. Tabacchi and Elizabeth Rabe are representing the United States in this case.

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Updated April 14, 2020

Drug Trafficking