Federal, county and local law enforcement officials today announced that 46 individuals were charged for their roles in a drug trafficking conspiracy that involved the distribution of heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine and fentanyl in the Marion area. 43 were arrested during an early morning takedown. The operation is ongoing.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan, FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith, Marion Police Chief William Collins and Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey made the announcement.
“Organizations like the one dismantled here today target communities like Marion because they mistakenly assume that they can operate either without detection or without people speaking up,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan. “Let these indictments serve as notice that law enforcement partners in this District and the residents of Marion are paying attention. And we will act.”
“Possession and distribution of illegal narcotics and the illegal possession of firearms will not be tolerated in our communities or by the good citizens who live there,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. “Likewise, the FBI will continue it’s targeted, exhaustive, and collaborative efforts with our local, state and federal partners to identify and dismantle drug trafficking organizations that bring poison and violence into our neighborhoods.”
“These arrests are the result of dedicated work of multiple agencies with one shared goal — to keep this community safe and free from dangerous drugs,” said DEA Detroit Field Division Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin.
“Our unending commitment to this community is to work relentlessly in collaboration with our law enforcement partners at every level, bringing every combined resource to bear with the unified mission to deliver those persons to justice who contribute to this deadly scourge,” said Marion Police Chief William Collins. “I’m immensely proud of the collective achievements born from this 2-year investigation, while I also remain dedicated to ensuring that this important work continues well into the future.”
The following is a breakdown of the charges:
Charged in a 29-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances, distribution of a controlled substance, possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and use of a communications facility to facilitate a drug trafficking offense are:
Raheem Brown, age 28, of Marion; Eric Carter, age 57, of Marion; Tawana Cochran, age 37, in state custody; Harold Cowans, age 81, of Columbus; Brittany Crabtree, age 29, of Marion; Rex Cumston, age 58, of Marion; Jeff Ellinwood, age 38, of Marion; Andy Fernandez, age 39, of Ypsilanti, Michigan; Paula Foreman, age 58, of Marion; Juan Demetrius Hartwell, age 46, of Marion; Mitchem Hopper, age 30, in state custody; Marty Keifer, age 29, of Marion; Ricky Kensler, age ??, in federal custody; Jamal Mincey, age 32, of Marion; Andre Pearson, age 40, of Marion; Terry Phillips, age 61, of Marion; Lawrence Redrick, age 43, in federal custody; Clifton Ross, age 45, of Columbus; Toni Sparks, age 29, of Marion; Terell Steen, age 43, in state custody; William Swartz, Jr, age 61, of Marion; Billie Jean White, age 32, of Marion; Taylor Williams, age 27, of Marion.
Charged in a 22-count indictment with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, distribution of a controlled substance, possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, felon in possession of a firearm and use of a communications facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense are:
Robert Baker, age 38, of Marion; Corey Cesar, age 28, of Marion; Tawana Cochran, age 37, in state custody; Kenneth Crumpton, age 31, of Farmington Hills, Michigan; Kenneth Drake, age 40, of Marion; Rodney Tyson Hall, age 37, of Larue, Ohio; Warren Harris, age 40, of Marion; Josten Jones, age 29, of Marion; Ronald Jordan, age 33, in state custody; Courtney Miles, age 35, in state custody; Lindsay Pacha, age 26, of Marion; Clifton Ross, age 45, of Columbus and Terry Worthington, age 41 in state custody.
Charged in a 16-count indictment with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substance and use of a communications facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense are:
Kendall Bender, age 33; Michael Collins, age 41; Meghan Landon, age 34; Destiny Pyles, age 23; Timothy Reed, age 36 and Alisha Taylor, age 24, all of Marion.
Charged in six separate indictments with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance distribution of a controlled substance are:
Otis Oliver, age 32; Darrius Kevin Karl Young-Owens, age 26; Anthony Robinson, age 32; all of Marion; James Glass, age 36; Curtis Thomas, age 33 and Johnny Thomas, age 34, both in state custody.
According to the indictments, from October 2015 to January 2019, these 46 individuals are accused of operating a drug trafficking organization that distributed large quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and fentanyl throughout the Marion area via suppliers in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and elsewhere. The conspirators are accused of using multiple cellular devices and code words to conceal their activity. In some instances, the indictments states that members of the drug trafficking organization used firearms in the conduct of their drug trafficking activity.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, each defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal records, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
The investigation preceding the indictments was conducted by the Cleveland Division of the FBI, DEA, Marion Police and Marion County Sheriff’s Office. This case is being investigated by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Simko and Robert Melching.