Twenty-Eight Indicted in Large-Scale Cocaine Trafficking Ring
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 17, 2011|
A federal grand jury returned a 50-count indictment against 28 people who are accused of participating in a large-scale cocaine trafficking ring operating in the Ashtabula, Ohio, area since 2008, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and William Johnson, Ashtabula County Sheriff, announced today.
Law enforcement personnel seized more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than $267,000 in U.S. currency during the year-long investigation. Six handguns belonging to co-conspirators were also confiscated.
From January 2008 to September 8, 2010, defendants Francisco Felix-Felix, Ricardo Apodaca, Jose Miguel Cardenas, and Carlos Felix arranged for multiple kilogram quantities of cocaine to be brought into Northeast Ohio, including to a house on Plymouth Road in Eastlake, Ohio, according to the indictment.
Those defendants, along with Oscar Batres Jr. and Exiquio Felix-Beltran, then delivered the cocaine to Shawn Decola, of Ashtabula, according to the indictment.
The co-conspirators often used vehicles with hidden compartments to transport the cocaine, and to transport sums of cash used to pay for the cocaine, according to the indictment.
The indictment further alleges that upon receipt of the cocaine, Decola resold it to various individuals, to include defendants Isaac Coleman, Marcus Dennis, Desmond Triplin, as well as Chris Dyer and William Saad Bradley, who in turn resold the cocaine to other co-conspirators in the Ashtabula area.
The co-conspirators from time to time also “cooked,” or converted, quantities of powder cocaine into cocaine base (crack) and then sold the crack cocaine to other co-conspirators and to crack users, according to the indictment.
“These defendants brought lots of cocaine into Northeast Ohio and then pushed it out onto the streets of Ashtabula,” Dettelbach said. “They now face significant sentences in the federal system for selling this poison in our community.”
Anthony said: “Today’s arrests demonstrate what can be accomplished with federal, state, county and local agencies combine their expertise and unique talents to rid our communities of dangerous drug dealers, who have such a detrimental impact on our communities.”
Added Geno Corley, Resident Agent in Charge for the DEA: “The drugs supplied by this organization have destroyed untold numbers of lives and families, as well as contributed to a significant amount of crimes against persons and property in the Ashtabula area.”
The individuals charged in the indictment are:
FRANCISCO FELIX-FELIX, aka “Big G,” aka “Jose Gonzalez,” 36, Mesa, Arizona
RICARDO APODACA, 35, Lexxon, California
JOSE MIGUEL CARDENAS, 22, Pico Rivera, California
CARLOS FELIX, aka “Carlos Domingues,” 23, Moreno Valley, California
OSCAR BATRES JR., 25, Phoenix, Arizona
EXIQUIO FELIX-BELTRAN, 49, Unknown
ISAAC COLEMAN, aka “Ike,” 31, Ashtabula, Ohio
MARCUS DENNIS, 41, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
DESMOND TRIPLIN, aka “Dezi,” 25, Ashtabula, Ohio
ERIC DUNCAN DERRICOATTE, 30, Ashtabula, Ohio
JAMES DYER, aka “Poo,” 24, Ashtabula, Ohio
CLARENCE FRANKLIN, aka “C.L.,” 38, Ashtabula, Ohio
JASON BOLES, aka “J. Boles,” 30, Unknown
LEROY DERRICOATTE, 33, Ashtabula, Ohio
JASHON HUNT, 31, Ashtabula, Ohio
JOHN EVANS, 32, Ashtabula, Ohio
JIMMIE RUTH III, 32, Ashtabula, Ohio
CHRISTOPHER MILLER, 35, Kingsville, Ohio
JESSE MCDOWELL JR., aka “Man,” 30, Ashtabula, Ohio
ANTONIO PARKER, aka “Tonio,” 22, Ashtabula, Ohio
DANIEL HAMILTON JR., 25, Ashtabula, Ohio
RICKY JACKSON, 57, Ashtabula, Ohio
TERRANCE JACKSON, 36, Ashtabula, Ohio
ARTHUR EZELL JR., aka “Man Man,” 19, Ashtabula, Ohio
MATT DONAHUE, 26, Ashtabula, Ohio
MARLON SPIKES, 38, Painesville, Ohio
NICHELLE SPIKES, 43, Painesville, Ohio
TAQUELLA HOSKIN, aka “Taje,” 36, Ashtabula, Ohio
Three other Ashtabula, Ohio, residents—Decola, age 28, Chris Dyer, aka “Chubba,” age 27, and William Saad Bradley, aka “Saadi,” age 29—are listed in the indictment as unindicted co-conspirators but have been previously charged in separate cases currently pending in U.S. District Court.
Decola, Chris Dyer, and Bradley have each been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (“crack”) and with possessing with intent to distribute cocaine or cocaine base recovered from their respective places of residence on September 8, 2010.
Count 1 of the indictment charges 27 of the 28 defendants (excluding Nichelle Spikes) with conspiracy to distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine and 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack).
Counts 2 and 3 of the indictment charge Matt Donahue, Marlon Spikes and Nichelle Spikes with knowingly and intentionally distributing or possessing with intent to distribute 164 grams or more of cocaine.
Count 4 of the indictment charges Francisco Felix-Felix with attempting to distribute approximately three kilograms of cocaine.
Counts 5 and 6 of the indictment charge James Dyer and Christopher Miller, respectively, with knowingly and intentionally possessing with intent to distribute approximately eight grams of cocaine base (crack) and 24 grams of cocaine.
Counts 7-50 of the indictment charge each defendant (with the exception of Ricardo Apodaca, Jose Miguel Cardenas, Oscar Batres Jr., Exiquio Felix-Beltran, and Isaac Coleman) with using a communications facility (a telephone) to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal records, if any, the defendants’ role in the offenses, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum and, in most cases, it will be less than the maximum.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Joseph P. Schmitz and Chelsea S. Rice following a one-year investigation code named “Operation Bula Ballers.” The investigation was conducted by agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office, the Ashtabula Police Department, the Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), the Lake County Narcotics Agency, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
An indictment is only is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.