CLEVELAND — Seventeen people have been indicted for their roles in a conspiracy to bring large amounts of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana from California to the Cleveland area to sell.
Teams of law enforcement officers hit the streets early Tuesday morning across Northeast Ohio.
According to the indictment, the drugs were sent to Ohio from California via domestic shipping.
"At a time when a record number of our neighbors were dying from drug overdoses, this organization allegedly brought in large amounts of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine from California and sold it all over Northeast Ohio," U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. "Some members of the conspiracy used rifles and other firearms to protect their products while others laundered tens of thousands of dollars in drug money."
"Illegal drug activity brings danger to our communities — it will not be tolerated," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. "Collaborative law enforcement efforts will continue to identify and disrupt drug trafficking organizations bringing violence to our streets."
The case was investigated by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force (NOLETF) and SouthEast Area Law Enforcement Narcotics Task Force, a collaboration of suburban northeast Ohio police departments.
The NOLETF is a long-standing multi-agency task force comprised of investigators from the FBI, DEA, IRS , U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, and a dozen law enforcement agencies in northeast Ohio. The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives. HIDTA supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking in Ohio.
Named in the 30-count indictment are:
Brandon Fletcher, 35, of Warrensville Heights
Edgar Arturo Sanchez, 27, of Paramount, California
Stephon Carter, 34, of Cleveland
Donnie Palmer, 34, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Kevin Philmon, 37, of Cleveland
Wayne Nix, 27, of Warrensville Heights, Ohio
Robert Hawes, 46, of Bedford, Ohio
Antonn Melton, 37, of Maple Heights, Ohio
Kevin Williams, 34, of Euclid, Ohio
Robert Pollard, 29, of Lithonia, Georgia
Freddie Murphy, 33, of Cleveland
Eric Armstrong, 58, of South Euclid, Ohio
JamillMcDonald, 37, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Steven Bouyer, 52, of Cleveland
Darcell Jackson, 32, of Euclid, Ohio
Lonnie Jordan, 29, of Maple Heights, Ohio
DeWitt Chisholm, 38, of Warrensville Heights, Ohio
This story was originally published by Tracy Carloss on WEWS in Cleveland.