19 Indicted on Federal Charges for Interstate Drug Trafficking

The U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio announced Wednesday the unsealing of a 72-count indictment against 19 individuals for operating an interstate drug trafficking ring selling narcotics in the Marion area. The lengthy indictment details alleged two-year conspiracy in which heroin, crack cocaine, Percocet, Ritalin, Xanax, and Vicodin were brought from Detroit and Fort Wayne, Indiana to Marion where the drugs were sold to dozens of people, including juveniles.

“In Marion the people are very lucky. I mean, what they have done today by investigating this case, is they have hung up a big sign on the edge of Marion that says drugs are not welcome here,” stated U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach, “That is a message that we hope is going to resonant for a good long time.”

Indicted are: Allen Graves, 46, of Detroit; Martez Montgomery, 22, of Detroit; Terrance Lombard, 39, of Eastpoint, Mich.; Edward Heam, 40, of Detroit; Darryl McFadden, 53, of Detroit; Jeronne White, 33, of Marion; Christopher Prince, 20, of Detroit; Danni Childers, 21 , of Marion; DeCarlos Bates, 21, of Hamtramck, Mich.; DeVonta Adams, 21, of Detroit; Jason Graves, 22, of Detroit; Mamiece Love, 22, of Hazel Park, Mich; Brittany Payne, 19, of Marion; Marcus Benson, 34, of Harper Woods, Mich.; Greg Burkett, 56, of Marion; Darrell Jacobs, 38, of Caledonia, Ohio; Danielle Sullivan, 23, of Marion; Steven Lester, 48, of Marion, and Abbee Heine, 20, of Marion.

Click here to download the complete indictment (it is a large file).

The majority of the suspects, including some who were already in jail on other charges, were arrested Wednesday morning prior to the news conference. Four individuals are still at large. They include Darrell Jacobs, 38, of Caledonia, and three others who are in the Detroit area. Officials urged those suspects to turn themselves in, saying they will not be able to hide with number of law enforcement agencies seeking them.

UPDATE: Jacobs was arrested late Wednesday night after a short foot chase.

Officials described the indictments as a meaningful blow to the local drug trafficking issues Marion has been experiencing. Dettelbach said that in a community the size of Marion, indictments like the one announced Wednesday “can make a big impact.”

Major Bill Collins of the Marion Police Department said the work into the investigation started with the local officers who spent thousands of hours on the case. He echoed others in saying this should be a wakeup call to those hoping to deal drugs in Marion.

“Prior to today, they really had no fear of repercussions as far as what would take place here in Marion. So we wanted to go to that next step, to the federal level,” stated Collins. “These people are certainly looking at more time than they ever would have looked at locally here.”

Officials said that local agencies reached out to the federal agencies for help. Several pointed out the work of the Mansfield FBI office, specifically Brady Fisher whom Stephen Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office, called “a young and very talented and aggressive agent.”

“In order for us to make a dent in the organization, we had to take that next step to get to the next level and have the help of the federal government,” continued Collins, who said this would definitely be a precursor to what cases will look like in the future.

Details included in the indictment showed that several of the suspects thought they were smarter that the police and were one step ahead. Officials Wednesday said that was never the case as they were simply building a strong case and attempting to include everyone in the trafficking organization.

Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey said that prior to today, some thought they could operate freely.

“We think we’ve sent a message that you are not going to be roaming freely doing business in this community,” stated Bailey.

The indictment alleges that Montgomery and Graves obtained heroin, crack cocaine and prescription drugs from Lombard, Heam, Benson, McFadden and other suppliers in Detroit and Fort Wayne. They also recruited friends and family members in Detroit to travel to Marion to distribute the drugs, according to the indictment.

Montgomery and Graves, with the assistance of Heine, rented homes in Heine’s name at 438 ½ North Prospect Street and 323 Mound Street, in Marion, for the purpose of distributing heroin, crack cocaine and prescription drugs. Childers also rented the house at 238 Park Boulevard in Marion for the purpose of distributing the drugs, according to the indictment.

Officials said they do not believe that the owners of the homes were aware what their properties were being rented in order to traffic drugs. In fact, they say many called police with criminal complaints.

Lester, as part of the conspiracy, allowed Graves and Montgomery to register vehicles in his name to avoid suspicion of law enforcement. Lester also routinely drove Graves from Marion to Detroit and back to transport drugs and drug proceeds, according to the indictment. Prince, White, Bates, Adams, Love, Jason Graves, a juvenile and others also shared a “community telephone” which they all used to communicate with drug customers and suppliers, according to the indictment.

Prince, White, Bates, Adams, Love, Jason Graves, Lester, a juvenile and others shared and used residences rented by Allen Graves, Montgomery, Heine and Childers for the purpose of storing and distributing heroin, crack cocaine and prescription drugs, according to the indictment. The indictment goes on to detail scores of transactions, phone calls and other actions related to their sale and distribution of drugs.

In addition to the federal charges, Marion County Prosecutor Brent Yager said that local charges would probably be filed as well.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation – Cleveland, Detroit and Indianapolis Field Offices, the MARMET Drug Task Force (comprised of members of the Marion Police Department, and Marion County Sheriff’s Office), the METRICH Drug Task Force, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph M. Pinjuh and Alissa Sterling.

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