Indiana Man Sentenced to Life Plus 25 Years for Drug and Armed Drug Trafficking Offenses
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Alfred A. Cooke, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-Merrillville, Indiana, and U.S. Attorney Clifford D. Johnson for the Northern District of Indiana announced that Steven Hecke, 47, of Fort Wayne, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Holly A. Brady after previously being found guilty following a five-day trial in June 2022.
The jury found Hecke guilty on all counts charged in the Indictment, which included distributing methamphetamine, maintaining a drug-involved premises, possessing methamphetamine and fentanyl with intent to distribute, possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possessing firearms as a convicted felon.
Hecke was sentenced to life plus 25 years in prison. Hecke’s sentence was enhanced because he had previously been convicted of a serious drug felony and armed drug trafficking in a 2007 federal case in the Northern District of Indiana.
“As the trial evidence showed, Mr. Hecke was a cartel-connected drug trafficker who sold massive amounts of illegal drugs in the Northern District of Indiana and elsewhere," said U.S. Attorney Johnson. "This prosecution shows that my office will spare no effort to bring drug dealers to justice. Let Mr. Hecke’s life sentence plus 25 years warn those engaged in illegal drug trafficking that when justice is served, the consequences are rightfully harsh.”
“The Drug Enforcement Administration is focused on disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations at all levels, specifically those with connections to Mexican drug cartels, such as the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel. Mr. Hecke had those criminal connections. Through his violent, drug-related crimes, Mr. Hecke caused great harm and damage to northern Indiana, but thanks to a collaborative law enforcement effort, he is no longer a threat to Hoosiers. DEA will continue to strive for a safer and healthier northern Indiana and America,” said DEA ASAC Cooke.
According to documents in the case, Hecke was distributing massive quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl in both powder and pill form, along with other drugs. Law enforcement conducted several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Hecke in November and December 2019. Agents and officers arrested Hecke at his Fort Wayne home after he returned with a drug shipment from Chicago in January 2020.
In this one shipment, Hecke possessed approximately 19 pounds of crystal methamphetamine. From Hecke’s residence and a separate stash house, law enforcement recovered additional methamphetamine, fentanyl powder and pills, other drugs, ammunition and high-capacity magazines, body armor, and nine firearms, including two AK-47 style rifles and other rifles and pistols.
The investigation further revealed that Hecke had obtained multiple prior drug shipments and that he was working closely with the Sinaloa Cartel by supplying them with vehicles, ATVs, generators, firearms and other merchandise. Hecke demonstrated a significant potential for violence and danger to the community in several ways: by protecting his drug houses with multiple firearms; making threats of violence against others to collect drug debts and to protect his drug operation; and invoking cartel members as intimidation and as a means of enforcing his threats.
This case was investigated by the DEA with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Allen County Drug Task Force, the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, the Indiana State Police, the Allen County Special Weapons and Tactics Team, the Fort Wayne Police Department, the Noble County Sheriff’s Department, the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department, the New Haven Police Department, and the DEA's North Central Laboratory. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony W. Geller and Lesley J. Miller Lowery.