A federal grand jury has indicted 17 persons accused of conspiring to distribute cocaine and heroin in the Canton area.
A federal grand jury has indicted 17 persons accused of conspiring to traffic cocaine and heroin in the Canton area.
The indictment, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, follows an Oct. 26 raid by federal, state and local law enforcement on suspected members and associates of the Rated R street gang.
Those named in the 68-page, 28-count indictment are: Jasmine Watkins; Jerry Gordon Jr.; Travis Grant; Timothy Bertram; Brian Brown; Virgil Hill; Oscar Todd; Edward Turpin IV; Perez A. Williams; Demond Hill; Ronald D. Hill; Bennie Woodson; Cordrick O. Owens; John L. Hill; Barry Giamourides; Brandon Jones; and Lavanya Mayle.
Each faces up to 20 years on the conspiracy charge alone.
Authorities are also seeking the forfeiture of more than $38,000 in cash, a dozen guns, two cars and assorted jewelry including, including a Rolex watch, diamond earrings and gold teeth.
The charges stem from an investigation of the Rated R gang initiated by the FBI and the Stark County Safe Streets Task Force. The gang is based in the area of Second Street and Belden Avenue NE, according to court papers.
Authorities say the conspiracy operated from as early as June 2010 until last month’s raids. Investigators used wiretaps, surveillance and multiple drug purchases by confidential informants to build the case, according to court papers. Several traffic stops also uncovered drugs and weapons.
According to the indictment, Gordon obtained heroin and cocaine from Watkins in Columbus; the drugs were then transported to Stark County and distributed to other members of the alleged conspiracy living in the Canton area.
Authorities intercepted telephone conversations and text messages during which alleged conspirators discussed buying and selling drugs. Some of the transactions involved tens of thousands of dollars, according to the indictment.
Some conversations led to immediate police action. On June 3, Todd talked with a person on the phone about robbing two individuals of a half pound of marijuana.
Canton police stopped Todd en route to the robbery, finding a loaded .45-caliber pistol and crack cocaine in his vehicle, according to the indictment.