Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment Thursday charging five new defendants in the ongoing case against a local drug trafficking ring.
A sweeping drug investigation tied to the Rated R street gang entered its second round Thursday and netted eight indictments on top of the 17 defendants who pleaded guilty last fall.
Both federal and local authorities say the bust puts a significant dent in Rated R and shuts down a drug pipeline from Columbus to the Canton area. Two other gangs — Southside Gangsters and the 14th Street gang — also were tied to the latest wave of indictments, said Police Chief Bruce Lawver. The previous 17 indictments were all believed to be affiliated with Rated R, he said.
“Historically, Rated R has always been considered the most significant gang in Canton,” he said.
“I think we’ve made them severely crippled,” Lawver said at a news conference Thursday morning at City Hall, which included Stark County Prosecutor John Ferrero and FBI agents from the Canton and Cleveland offices.
Federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment Thursday charging five new defendants in the ongoing case against the local drug trafficking ring. Three other men face local charges. The group includes some suspected members or affiliates of Rated R or other gangs, Lawver said.
Canton area men who have been charged with possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute are: Jamail C. Mitchell, 22; Chad “Da King” Tucker, 24; Cruz M. Brown, 23; Jermaine E. Gaitor, 28; and Kevin Slater, 57. Their addresses were not available.
The men bought crack and powder cocaine from others and sold the drugs in the Canton area, prosecutors said. They face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and up to a life sentence.
Three others face local charges:
• Charles H. Milton, 29, 1004 12th St. NE, four counts of trafficking in cocaine, fourth-degree felonies and two counts of trafficking in cocaine, fifth-degree felonies.
• Damon Bryant, 23, 921 14th St. NE, aggravated burglary.
• Davis A. Hill, 29, 213 Exeter Ave. SW, conspiracy for aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon.
Bryant and Slater were still being sought as of late Thursday afternoon.
“I can’t overemphasize the significant impact it does have on this community — especially in those areas (of gang activity),” said Lawver, who credited the FBI for their role in the investigation as well as other local law enforcement agencies.
CARS, CASH, COCAINE
Authorities said they seized more than two pounds of cocaine, 12 guns, eight vehicles and about $25,000 in jewelry and more than $50,000 in cash.
Lawver said he believes Rated R members or affiliates have been responsible for some of the violence plaguing some city neighborhoods, including shootings.
Rated R operates in northeast Canton, he said. The Southside Gangsters operate in southeast Canton and the 14th Street gang has focused its activities in the Shorb Avenue NW area, Lawver said.
Page 2 of 3 - LONG INVESTIGATION
The case began as an investigation by the FBI and the Stark County Safe Streets Task Force into the Rated R gang, which is based in the area of Second Street and Belden Avenue NE, according to court papers.
The task force includes the Stark County Sheriff’s Department, the Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Perry Township police and the Massillon and Alliance police departments.
Authorities say the gang and its associates moved cocaine and heroin from Columbus to the Canton area starting in June 2010. The ring operated until an Oct. 26, 2011, raid by federal, state and local law enforcement.
In court papers, prosecutors cite wiretapped phone conversations about multiple drug deals, some involving tens of thousands of dollars.
Drug activity continues to infest some parts of Canton, authorities acknowledged.
The FBI and Canton police will “continue to attack the narcotics in the Canton area,” said David A. Sierleja, chief of the criminal division for the Northern District of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, part of the Department of Justice.
DRUG TRAFFICKING RING — ROUND 1
In October 2011, federal, state and local law enforcement conducted a raid that charged 17 people in a cocaine and heroin trafficking ring, including some members of the Rated R street gang. These defendants have pleaded guilty. Many are serving prison terms while others await sentencing.
Oscar “O” Todd, 27, of Canton: 125 months, Rated R
Demond “D-Mo” Hill, 32, of Canton: 122 months, Rated R
Travis “G” Grant, 34, of Canton: 121 months
Edward “Doogie” Turpin IV, 20, of Canton: 120 months, Rated R
Perez A. “Little Pete” Williams, 19, of Canton: 93 months, Rated R
Lavanya Mayle, 28, of Canton: 60 months
Timothy Bertram, 29, of Canton: 57 months
Barry Giamourides, 43, of Jackson Township: 51 months
John L. “Doo Rag” Hill, 21, of Canton: 37 months, Rated R
Jasmine “JD” Watkins, 29, of Columbus: awaiting sentencing
Jerry “Juice” Gordon Jr., 23, of Canton: awaiting sentencing
Virgil “Virg” Hill, 25, of Canton, Rated R: awaiting sentencing
Cordrick “Scoop” Owens, 32, of Canton: awaiting sentencing
Brian “B” Brown, 32, of Canton: 72 months
Ronald D. Hill, 23, of Canton: 82 months, Rated R
Bennie “Bam” Woodson, 28, of Canton, 82 months, Rated R
Brandon “Yellow” Jones, 29, of Canton, 120 months
ROUND 2 OF ALLEGATIONS
On Thursday morning, authorities arrested several Canton area men on federal or local charges, while warrants still were out on two in the group. Their names and charges:
Jamail C. Mitchell, 22, possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute
Page 3 of 3 - Chad “Da King” Tucker, 24, possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute
Cruz M. Brown, 23, possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute
Jermaine E. Gaitor, 28, possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute
Kevin Slater, 57, possession of cocaine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. (Still being sought)
Charles H. Milton, 29, 1104 12th St. NE, four counts trafficking in cocaine, fourth-degree felonies and two counts trafficking in cocaine, fifth-degree felonies
Damon Bryant, 23, 921 14th St. NE, aggravated burglary. (Still being sought)
Davis A. Hill, 29, 213 Exeter Ave. SW, conspiracy for aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon