12 Indicted for Interstate Cocaine Conspiracy
MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced the unsealing of an indictment charging twelve people with crimes related to the distribution of cocaine. The indictment was returned on November 28 by a federal grand jury sitting in Madison and was unsealed yesterday.
The indictment charges Joseph Harper, 41, Madison, Wisconsin; Gregory Smith, 49, Houston, Texas; Timothy Hotchkiss, 38, Middleton, Wisconsin; Jennifer Green, 46, Madison; Gerald Schad, 26, Madison; Lonell Johnson, 27, Grand Marsh, Wisconsin; Bryan Lewis, 48, Madison; Miesha Ihm, 24, Madison; Diane Williams, 36, Dubuque, Iowa; Jamal Jackson, 39, Madison; and Gerald Walters, 36, Madison, with conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine. The indictment alleges that the conspiracy operated from November 2017 to November 2018.
In addition, the indictment charges Prince Hayes, 39, Fitchburg, Wisconsin, with distribution of cocaine on September 17, 2018. Harper and Jackson are also charged with separate counts of distribution and possession with intent distribute cocaine. Harper, Smith, Schad, and Ihm face additional charges of distribution and possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
During the detention hearing for Diane Williams on December 17, 2018, the government proffered that a long-term multi-agency investigation revealed a large-scale cocaine conspiracy in which Gregory Smith allegedly mailed packages containing kilograms of cocaine from Houston to Joseph Harper in Madison and to Harper’s associates in Milwaukee and Dubuque, Iowa, for eventual delivery to Harper, and in which Harper or his associates subsequently mailed drug proceeds to Smith.
“The twelve individuals charged in the criminal indictment are alleged to have been part of a drug ring that distributed a large amount of cocaine in southern Wisconsin,” said U.S. Attorney Blader. “Working closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we will continue to investigate large-scale drug traffickers and dismantle drug networks that feed the deadly cycle of drug abuse, and jeopardize the safety and stability of our local communities.”
“DEA is proud to be part of this outstanding group effort to bring to justice those individuals who are responsible for poisoning our communities,” said DEA Resident Agent in Charge Dennis Hiorns.
“The United States Postal Inspection Service is determined to stop the distribution of illegal drugs in this country,” said Inspector in Charge Craig Goldberg of the Chicago Division of the U. S. Postal Inspection Service. “This indictment is a direct result of a thorough investigation by a group of tenacious law enforcement partners who share the same goal of protecting the American public from the flow of dangerous drugs.”
Harper, Hotchkiss, Green, Johnson, Lewis, Ihm, Williams, Jackson, Walters, and Hayes have all been arrested and made initial appearances in federal court in Madison. Smith and Schad were both arrested in Houston and have made initial appearances in federal court in Houston.
The conspiracy, distribution, and possession with intent to distribute charges alleging 500 grams or more of cocaine have a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. The distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine charges against Hayes, Harper, and Jackson have a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
The charges in this case are the result of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation. The investigation was conducted and funded by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a multi-agency task force that coordinates long-term narcotics trafficking investigations. The prosecution of the case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Wegner.
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