January 14, 2014
Contact: Brian McNeal
Phone Number: (571) 362-1498
Twenty People Indicted For Heroin Conspiracy In Northeast Ohio
Akron man also charged for selling heroin that resulted in fatal overdose
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: (313) 234-4310
CLEVELAND - Twenty people were indicted for their roles in a conspiracy that brought heroin and other drugs to Akron, and an Akron man was charged with providing heroin that resulted in an overdose death, law enforcement officials announced today.
The indictment includes a death specification enhancement against Garland V. Phelps, Jr. The indictment alleges that a person fatally overdosed on Dec. 25, 2012, on heroin distributed by Phelps.
Eighteen Akron residents were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin. Two other people, also of Akron, were indicted on related charges.
The indictment describes a conspiracy that took place from 2011 through 2014, in which heroin was brought to Akron from Atlanta, Chicago and other cities. It also details discussions between some conspirators about shooting, robbing and killing rival drug dealers and discussions about killing people they suspected of being informants to law enforcement.
"These defendants profited off people's addictions, and in one case directly contributed to an overdose death," said Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. "We will continue to aggressively prosecute heroin dealers while working with medical and treatment professionals in an effort to thwart this epidemic."
U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA) Acting Special Agent in Charge James Van Allen stated: "Heroin use has become one of the largest drug abuse problems in Ohio and across the United States. This joint operation is a clear demonstration of the ongoing commitment the law enforcement community throughout Northeast Ohio has on working together to fully investigate those individuals and drug trafficking organizations that choose to endanger our community by trafficking in heroin and other illegal drugs."
"This is an example of the fine working relationship between law enforcement in Summit County and our continued attack on drug trafficking," said Akron Police Chief James Nice.
Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry stated: "This successful operation was made possible by the collaboration between federal, state, and local law enforcement. We will continue investigating and dismantling this drug operation with our law enforcement partners."
The following individuals were indicted:
All of the defendants, with the exception of Quinntin R. Chatman and Marcus D. Mitchell, are charged in Count 1 with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute heroin.
In Counts 2-17, various defendants are charged with substantive distributions of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and crack cocaine.
Phelps obtained multi-ounce and larger quantities of heroin from various suppliers, including Sykes, Sanders and a person identified only as Conspirator 1. Phelps, Sykes and Sanders distributed the heroin to various dealers, including Dorsey, Porter, Sullivan, Proctor, Davis, Shocklee, Thompson, Dorman, McWain, Easter, Robinson and King, according to the indictment.
If convicted, the defendant's sentence will be determined by the Court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendant's prior criminal record, if any, the defendant's role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.
The investigation was conducted under the U.S. Attorney's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is part of a national program that seeks to identify, investigate and prosecute significant drug trafficking enterprises by utilizing multiple investigative and prosecuted resources.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samuel A. Yannucci and Teresa Dirksen following an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), in partnership with the Akron/Summit County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The Summit County Drug Unit is comprised of members from the Summit County Sheriff's Office, New Franklin Police Department, Stow Police Department, Copley Police Department, Cuyahoga Falls Police Department, Akron Police Department, FBI, DEA, Reminderville Police Department, Springfield Police Department, University of Akron Police Department, and the Barberton Police Department.
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.