January 14, 2013
Contact: Brian McNeal
Phone Number: (571) 362-1498
Thirteen Heroin Traffickers Indicted In Northern Ohio
CLEVELAND - A federal grand jury returned a 42-count indictment against 13 people who are accused of participating in a large-scale heroin trafficking ring in the Ashtabula areas and resulted in the overdose death of an Ashtabula resident last year.
The unsealing of the indictment was announced today by Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and William Johnson, Ashtabula County Sheriff.
The indicted individuals are:
Count 1 of the indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to distribute more than a kilogram of heroin, a Schedule I controlled substance.
Count 2 of the indictment charges Sherord Miller and Shaunci Osborne with conspiracy to engage in money laundering, based on their use of a bank safe deposit box to store and conceal profits from the sale of heroin.
Count 3 of the indictment charges Rayshawn Reed with knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute approximately 171 grams of heroin.
Count 4 of the indictment charges Reginald Bryant with felon-in-possession of a firearm.
Counts 5-42 of the indictment charge each defendant with using a communications (a telephone) to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.
“This group is accused of bringing piles of heroin into Ashtabula, which directly resulted in the death of a young woman,” Dettelbach said.“Heroin abuse in Ohio and across the country is on the rise, and it is directly responsible for hundreds of overdose deaths every year,” Corso said. “This indictment illustrates that the DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively target those individuals that choose to sell heroin in our communities, with total disregard for human life.”
Law enforcement personnel seized heroin, firearms and more than $320,000 in U.S. currency during the year-long investigation. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of five vehicles used as part of the conspiracy: a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban, a 2004 Cadillac CTS, a 2002 Cadillac Escalade, a 2004 BMW 745Li and a 1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass.
The indictment alleges that from March 2012 to August 15, 2012, defendant Rayshawn Reed arranged for multiple kilogram quantities of heroin to be brought into Northeast Ohio from the Chicago area.
The heroin was then distributed to co-conspirators in Ashtabula, including Sherord Miller and Jamarce Miller. Sherord Miller and Jamarce Miller then resold the heroin to other co-conspirators, including defendants Amanda Loving, Isaac Hawkins, Louis Snyder, James Robinson, Tricia Lewis, Joey Schmeisser, and Kevin Fridrich, and to heroin users. Defendants Shaunci Osborne and Laketha Harris helped Sherord Miller sell and distribute heroin, and that Reginald Bryant furnished heroin to the co-conspirators during periods when shortages occurred, according to the indictment.
The indictment further alleges that heroin from the conspiracy which had been distributed by Jamarce Miller resulted in the fatal heroin overdose of an Ashtabula-area resident on or about July 7, 2012.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records, if any, their role in the offenses, and the characteristics of the violations. In all cases the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph P. Schmitz and Vasile C. Katsaros following a one-year investigation. It was conducted by agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office, the Ashtabula Police Department, the Trumbull/Ashtabula Group Task (TAG), the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and (BCI), the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
An indictment is only 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.