Four Evansville Crack Dealers Sentenced to Life in Prison
MAR 17 -- (Evansville, IN) Four Evansville men have been sentenced to life in prison as a result of conviction at trial for conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, more commonly known as “crack” cocaine. Brian Jones, 32 and Leonard Hoskins, 29, were sentenced on Friday March 13, 2009 by U.S. District Judge Richard L. Young. Jeremy Simmons, 32 and Mitchell McGhee, 30 were sentenced Monday March 16, 2009. In addition, Lamont Robinson, 31, was sentenced to 144 months for his role in the conspiracy.
The life sentences are a result of an eight-month joint investigation by the DEA, FBI, ATF, and the Evansville Police Department. The joint law enforcement effort dubbed Operation Tombstone revealed a crack cocaine distribution ring operating in the Evansville area. The investigation culminated with the indictment of 26 defendants and the execution of 14 search warrants at various locations in the city. Over the course of the investigation, approximately 900 grams of crack cocaine, and approximately one half kilogram powder cocaine were seized from members of the drug distribution organization. The search warrants yielded additional controlled substances including crack cocaine, multiple firearms, including an assault pistol, and U.S. currency.
“These sentencings are the result of long hours and hard work by the individual agents and officers assigned to work Operation Tombstone,” stated Gary G. Olenkiewicz, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Chicago Field Division which covers Indiana. “The DEA is devoted to our law enforcement partnerships and their continued efforts to keep dangerous drugs off the streets and out of our communities.”
Jeremy Simmons was convicted as a leader in the drug conspiracy which distributed approximately 12 kilograms of crack cocaine from January 2006 through August 2009, 2007. Jones, Hoskins and McGhee were upper-level crack cocaine distributors for the Simmons organization. Lamont Robinson was a drug runner for Simmons, while Simmons’ girlfriend, Tanisha West, transported cocaine in both powder and crack form from Chicago to Evansville. Simmons coordinated distribution of the cocaine in Evansville. West’s sentencing hearing is currently scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, 2009.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorney Bradley Blackington. Additional agencies assisting with the investigation included The United States Marshal Service, the Evansville Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force, the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police.