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Men Accused of Distributing Powder and Crack Cocaine

CLEVELAND, OH – Twenty-five people were charged in a 59-count indictment, accused of distributing powder and crack cocaine throughout Cleveland, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office, announced today.

The indictment charges three separate but related drug trafficking organizations with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (crack). Most of the people indicted were arrested this morning.

“Once again, law enforcement in Northeast Ohio worked together to take down large organizations that brought drugs from outside the region into Cleveland,” Dettelbach said.

This sting was dubbed “Operation Iron Chef” because one of the men indicted frequently cooked powder cocaine into crack cocaine from a house on Willowhurst Road in Cleveland.

“Today’s arrests in ‘Operation Iron Chef’ demonstrates the continued successful effort by federal, state and local law enforcement to stop those drug trafficking organizations here in Cleveland and around the country that are targeting our communities,” Anthony said. “This investigation revealed that the drug trafficking organizations here in Cleveland were being supplied by traffickers in Detroit, Oakland and East Chicago, Indiana.”

Count 1 of the indictment charged 10 people for their participation in a drug ring lead by Donte Harris from January through August 2010. This group received cocaine from Oakland, California and elsewhere and distributed it throughout Cleveland, according to the indictment.

On June 8, 2010, police stopped Kevin Lanier, a member of the drug ring. The vehicle fled and eventually crashed into a porch on Ostend Road in Cleveland. Lanier and the driver ran away and police recovered about 13 grams of crack cocaine from around the crash site, according to the indictment.

Count 2 of the indictment charged seven people for their participation in a drug ring lead by Ramone Thomas. From May 2010 through August 2010, this group distributed powder and crack cocaine throughout Cleveland, according to the indictment.

The organization utilized a house on Hampton Road in Cleveland as part of their operation, according to the indictment.

Count 3 of the indictment charged nine people for their roles in a drug ring lead by Shawn Fears. From August through October 2010, this group brought cocaine from East Chicago, Indiana and elsewhere to Cleveland and distributed it throughout the area, according to the indictment.

Those indicted are: Shawn Fears, 41, of Euclid, Ohio; Ramone Thomas, 29, of Cleveland, Ohio; Donte Harris, 27, of Euclid, Ohio; Kevin Lanier, 27, of Cleveland, Ohio; Christopher Brownlee, 28, of Cleveland, Ohio; David Beasley, 41, of Cleveland, Ohio; Anthony Coleman, 31, of South Euclid, Ohio; David Porter, 24, of Cleveland, Ohio; Markettia Harris, 24, of Cleveland, Ohio; Michelle Lee Harris, 22, of Cleveland, Ohio; Jermaine Hilliard, 29, of Cleveland, Ohio; Ladarius Davis, 22, of Cleveland, Ohio; Darnell Horton, 34, of Cleveland, Ohio; Carlos Hibbit, 26, of Cleveland, Ohio; Secarius Dillar, 36, of Cleveland, Ohio; Lidon Porter, 33, of Cleveland, Ohio; Albert Sandidge, 54, of Cleveland, Ohio; Lamont Jackson, 49, of East Chicago, Indiana; Marvin Tolbert, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio; Walter Winnick, 57, of Cleveland, Ohio; Percy Wells, 29, of Cleveland, Ohio; Arketa Willis, 40, of Twinsburg, Ohio; Marco Parra, 30, of Bedford Heights, Ohio; Dushawn Harris, 35, of Cleveland, Ohio, and Preston Charles Thompson, 20, of Cleveland, Ohio.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any, the defendants’ role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases they will be less than the maximum.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Teresa L. Dirksen and Roger Bamberger, following an investigation by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force (NOLETF).

The NOLETF is a long standing multi-agency task force comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, Cleveland Division of Police, Cleveland Heights Police Department (CHPD), Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), Euclid Police Department (EPD), Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Police Department, Strongsville Police Department (SPD), University Heights Police Department (UHPD) and Shaker Heights Police Department (SHPD). The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives. The HIDTA Program supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate, or reduce drug-trafficking in the State of Ohio.

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.

via. ClevelandFreePress.com (Kpaul)