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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 23, 2020

U.S. Attorney's Office personnel recognized for outstanding performance

DAYTON – David M. DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, honored the work of 11 district employees by presenting them with the 2019 U.S. Attorney’s Awards for Outstanding Performance.

 

“These individuals continually demonstrate the willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to bring justice on behalf of the people of southern Ohio,” said U.S. Attorney DeVillers.

 

Those receiving recognition are:

 

  • Brent G. Tabacchi for Outstanding Performance by an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

 

Mr. Tabacchi carried the largest caseload in the Dayton office in 2019, spanning almost every substantive area of federal criminal law. In 2019, he was responsible for federal charges against 60 defendants in 34 cases, including Dayton City Commissioner Joey Williams, who pleaded guilty to public corruption, and against 19 defendants in a large drug trafficking investigation. Tabacchi also helped bring federal charges that could carry the death penalty against three defendants in connection with the murder of DEA Task Force Officer Jorge Del Rio. Tabacchi’s 2019 contributions to the community in the enforcement of drug laws led to the seizure of more than 50 kilograms of fentanyl, heroin or mixtures thereof. In addition, he presented arguments before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and won a jury conviction of a defendant on weapons charges who claimed that the DEA authorized him to commit non-violent offenses. 

 

  • Appellate Chief Mary Beth Young, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Robinson, and Paralegal Laura Griffin for Outstanding Performance by a Litigative Team.

 

This appellate team is recognized for its extraordinary handling of the complex appeals stemming from the Short North Posse criminal trials. The team briefed and argued two separate appeals, ultimately resulting in the affirmance of the vast majority of the convictions and life sentences in the case. The appeals were lengthy and contentious. The five defendants tried jointly filed a 200-page consolidated opening brief. Ms. Young led the District’s response, with Ms. Robinson serving as co-counsel and Ms. Griffin providing paralegal assistance, which included pouring over extensive trial evidence and listening to voluminous recording. Ms. Robinson handled the lead defendant’s separate appeal, stemming from his separate trial. The court held oral arguments in both appeals, including a lengthy oral argument on the consolidated appeal involving five separate defense counsel arguing against Ms. Young, before ruling in the government’s favor. 

 

  • AUSAs Ken Affeldt, Maritsa Flaherty, and Tim Oakley, and Paralegal Kelly Terry for Outstanding Contribution to the Mission of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

 

The four individuals are recognized for their extraordinary work in 2019 in combatting the opioid epidemic in Ohio. During this past year, members of this group brought to indictment the Miami-Luken case, a large and complex prosecution of a significant opioid pill distributor, the company’s executives and certain pharmacists. Ms. Flaherty and Mr. Affeldt successfully tried the Bernard Oppong case and handled sentencing in the related Bryant and Kusi cases, all the while ably assisted by Ms. Terry. They accomplished this, while simultaneously leading the health care fraud task force and handling health care fraud, other pill mill and related cases.

 

  • Megan Black for Outstanding Performance in Administration. 

 

As part of a District evaluation, the District underwent a full Human Resources Audit.  Ms. Black led the District’s preparation for the audit, responding to the data and other requests of the auditors, and otherwise addressing the needs of audit. The auditors found no “red flags,” which is significant and reflective of her extraordinary work in the HR field, and the processes she and the Administration team have in place to ensure compliance with the numerous HR-related requirements. At the same time, she “on-boarded” an extraordinary number of new employees.

 

  • Krista Zeller for Outstanding Performance in Legal Support.

 

In addition to fulfilling her victim-witness functions with skill and expertise, Ms. Zeller absorbed additional duties, including criminal paralegal functions and administrative tasks. Her willingness to go above and beyond to assist the Cincinnati office during a staffing shortage in 2019 did not go unnoticed and should be commended.

 

  • Michelle Gable for Outstanding Performance by a Contract Employee.

 

The Southern District of Ohio typically has at least two asset forfeiture contract employees in the Columbus office. For much of 2019, Ms. Gable was the only asset forfeiture contractor there. She has become a “go-to” resource for the attorneys and other personnel in Columbus on forfeiture matters, assisting with meeting the asset forfeiture needs of the Columbus office with skill and enthusiasm.

 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office serves the approximately 5.5 million residents of 48 counties in Ohio and maintains offices in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. The award ceremony occurred in Dayton.

 

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Topic(s): 
Office and Personnel Updates
Component(s): 
Contact: 
jennifer.thornton@usdoj.gov
Updated January 23, 2020