News Release
February 4, 2010
Contact: Will Taylor
Number: 312-886-2597

Evansville, Indiana Drug Trafficking Investigation Leads Results in Twenty-Two Charged Federally

FEB 4 --February 4, 2010 – (Evansville)  Arrest and search warrants were executed today in Evansville, Indiana, Henderson, Kentucky, and Miami, Florida. The law enforcement action was the culmination of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Evansville-Vanderburgh County Joint Drug Task Force led investigation. Twenty-two individuals have been charged in U.S. District Court in Evansville with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Approximately 150 law enforcement officers participated in the execution of the search warrants and arrests. Approximately ¼ kilogram of powder cocaine, a quantity of “crack” cocaine, approximately $21,000 in United States Currency, and 16 firearms were seized.

Several indictments obtained as a result of the investigation led to the arrests. The first indictment charged the following 12 individuals with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute both “crack” and powder cocaine:

JEAN STERLING, 36, of Miami, Florida and Evansville
SLEDGE SEIDE, 33, of Evansville
FRANCOEUR PIERRE, 30, of Evansville
JULVIO GABRIEL, 28, of Evansville
JULIUS WILBOURN, 36, of Evansville
EDGAR GIBSON, 28, of Evansville
MARVIN WHITNEY, 22, of Evansville
BRUCE THOMAS, 48, of Evansville
OLIVIA ALFANO, 22, of Evansville
JOHNNY WILBOURN, 46, of Evansville
LERNARD DIXON, 25, of Evansville
JESSICA JEAN, 22, of Evansville

Sterling, Seide and Pierre are alleged to be members of the Miami based “Zoe Pound” criminal street gang. As part of the indictment, it is alleged that Haitian immigrants within the United States founded “Zoe Pound” in the Miami area, which over the past two decades has grown and branched out from its Miami roots. It is alleged that the defendants relied upon their ties to “Zoe Pound”, which is well known for its involvement in drug trafficking, robbery and related violent crime, to facilitate and advance the defendant’s Evansville area drug trafficking activities. 

Additionally, defendants Wilbourn, Thomas and Pierre were charged with separate instances of cocaine distribution in Evansville from July through September, 2009. Defendants Seide, Pierre, Gabriel, Whitney, Gibson, Johnny Wilbourn, Dixon, Alfano and Thomas are also charged with separate instances of using their cellular telephones to facilitate the drug trafficking offenses.

The second indictment charged the following nine individuals, all of Evansville:


Defendants Davis, Wilbourn, Seales, Wilson and King are alleged to have been involved in a
related “crack” and powder cocaine distribution conspiracy. Additionally, defendants Davis, Ragland,
Duerson, Collier and McGee are charged with separate instances of using their cellular telephones to facilitate drug trafficking offenses.

In a separate federal complaint, related to the Davis indictment, the following additional defendants were charged with the possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute cocaine:


During a traffic stop on February 1, 2010, in Terre Haute, Indiana, Powell was found to be driving an automobile with a concealed trap compartment. According to the complaint affidavit, during a subsequent search of the automobile, law enforcement officers located approximately two kilograms of cocaine. One kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds. The complaint affidavit alleges that Shidler and Davis arranged for the receipt of the cocaine from sources in Chicago, Illinois, and followed Powell back from Chicago as she transported the cocaine on their behalf.

According to Assistant U. S. Attorney Matthew P. Brookman, who is prosecuting the case for the government, most of the defendants, if convicted, face maximum possible prison sentences of life imprisonment. Defendants Duerson and Collier face maximum possible eight year prison sentences. Defendants Ragland and McGee face a maximum possible prison sentence of four years.

Initial hearings began at 9:00 a.m. this morning for some of the defendants before U.S.
District Court Chief Judge Richard L. Young in Evansville.
The following agencies assisted the DEA and Evansville-Vanderburgh County Joint Drug Task Force with the investigation and execution of the warrants:

FBI Evansville Safe Streets Task Force
Evansville Police Department
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms & Explosives
United States Marshals Service
U. S. Postal Inspection Service
Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department
Henderson, Kentucky Police Department
Henderson County, Kentucky Sheriff’s Department
Kentucky State Police
Indiana State Police
Internal Revenue Service
Gibson County, Indiana Sheriff's Department
Vigo County, Indiana Drug Task Force

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.