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Feds bust drug ring that used domestic shipping to bring drugs from California to Cleveland

Drug bust scene
Posted at 11:51 AM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 15:34:37-04

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.

Only News 5 Cleveland cameras were rolling early Tuesday morning as the federal drug round up got underway before dawn.

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. Once the drugs were in Ohio, authorities said that the narcotics were distributed across the local area to be resold.

The 17 people charged in the indictment are the following:

  1. Brandon Fletcher, 35, of Warrensville Heights
  2. Edgar Arturo Sanchez, 27, of Paramount, California
  3. Stephon Carter, 34, of Cleveland
  4. Donnie Palmer, 34, of Cleveland Heights
  5. Kevin Philmon, 37, of Cleveland
  6. Wayne Nix, 27, of Warrensville Heights
  7. Robert Hawes, 46, of Bedford
  8. Antonn Melton, 37, of Maple Heights
  9. Kevin Williams, 34, of Euclid
  10. Robert Pollard, 29, of Lithonia, Georgia
  11. Freddie Murphy, 33, of Cleveland
  12. Eric Armstrong, 58, of South Euclid
  13. Jamill McDonald, 37, of Cleveland Heights
  14. Steven Bouyer, 52, of Cleveland
  15. Darcell Jackson, 32, of Euclid
  16. Lonnie Jordan, 29, of Maple Heights
  17. DeWitt Chisholm, 38, of Warrensville Heights

“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.”

The case was investigated by multiple local and federal law enforcement agencies including the:

  • Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force (NOLETF)
  • SouthEast Area Law Enforcement Narcotics Task Force,
  • Bedford Police Department
  • Bedford Heights Police Department
  • Garfield Heights Police Department
  • Maple Heights Police Department
  • Solon Police Department
  • Oakwood Police Department
  • Walton Hills Police Department

NOLETF is comprised of members from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service, and the police departments of Broadview Heights, Brooklyn Heights, Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Euclid, Independence, North Royalton, the Regional Transit Authority, Westlake and Shaker Heights.

NOLETF was created as 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," authorities said.

"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."