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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
December 17, 2003

27 Arrested on Federal & State Charges

DEC 17 — Indianapolis, IN - A heroin investigation coordinated by the Indianapolis Police, the Bloomington Police, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, and the DEA significantly curtailed the supply of heroin to both Indiana heroin distributors and users following a drug sweep yesterday. Arrests were made across the Indianapolis area and elsewhere culminating a six-month investigation into regional heroin trafficking. More than 90 law enforcement officials took part in 17 federal arrests, 10 state arrests and 12 search warrants that resulted in the recovery of $50,000 cash, 16 firearms, and ¼ kilogram of heroin, with a street value of approximately $75,000.

The arrests and seizures are the result of an indictment alleging that Larry D. Williams, Sr. is the leader of a heroin distribution conspiracy that grossed over $500,000 in sales revenue over a fourteen-month period. According to the indictment, Williams, of Cincinnati, Ohio, acquired large quantities of bulk-priced heroin from suppliers Wendell Denson of Chicago, Illinois, and Herman Cunningham of Richton Park, Illinois. Denson and Cunningham were arrested while in Indianapolis and have been charged as the heroin wholesalers to Williams, who paid them an average of $100 per gram for their heroin.

Williams himself is alleged to have traveled to the Chicago area, as well as employed others for similar trips, to pick up heroin for redistribution on the streets of Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana. Mid-level distributors were reported to have paid an average price of $150 to $200 per gram before passing the drug to street customers, and subsequently increasing the cost to between $200 to $300 per gram to enhance their own profit margin.

Those indicted and charged federally by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Indiana are as follows:

1. Larry D. Williams, Sr., age 47 of Cincinnati, Ohio
2. David Harden, age 50 of Indianapolis, Indiana
3. Wendell Denson, age 32 of Chicago, Illinois
4. Herman Cunningham, age 55 of Richton Park, Illinois
5. Maylon Pullens, age 69 of Indianapolis, Indiana
6. Brenda Finney, age 51 of Indianapolis, Indiana
7. Jerry Turentine, age 43 of Indianapolis, Indiana
8. Jennifer Branch-Johnson, age 27 of Indianapolis, Indiana
9. Jawanna Rouson, age 29 of Cincinnati, Ohio
10. Troy Corley, age 34 of Indianapolis, Indiana
11. Sharon Grundy, age 50 of Indianapolis, Indiana
12. Alberta Taylor, age 26 of Indianapolis, Indiana
13. DeWayne Drake, age 44 of Indianapolis, Indiana
14. Robert Rice, age 46 of Indianapolis, Indiana
15. Robert Bentley, age 61 of Indianapolis, Indiana
16. Tom Verhovshek, age 28, of Bloomington, Indiana
17. Michael A. Smith, age 42 of Indianapolis, Indiana

The consequences for those arrested, if convicted, is a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a maximum possible fine of 8 million dollars. An indictment is an allegation only, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


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