Hogsett Announces Sting on Alleged Statewide Methamphetamine Operation
Eighteen Individuals Indicted on Federal Drug Charges After Collaborative Investigation
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 15, 2012|
TERRE HAUTE—Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney, announced today the indictment of 18 individuals in a federal sting on an alleged statewide methamphetamine operation. All of the defendants are charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and distributing methamphetamine.
“Over the last year, I’ve met with our local law enforcement partners from all 60 counties of this district, and their consistent message has been that there is no greater challenge today than that posed by the use and trafficking of methamphetamine,” Hogsett said. “That’s why I am proud that today that we can announce our collaborative efforts have helped dismantle a major statewide methamphetamine operation.”
“And for those that continue to peddle tragedy and death in our communities, I think today’s joint operation serves as a powerful warning,” Hogsett said. “We will not sit idly by and allow you to destroy Hoosier families. You will be found, and you will be brought to justice.”
The defendants named in the indictment include:
- Cassandra Cheatham a/k/a “Candy”, age 43, of Brazil
- Jacob Dean, age 24, of Brazil
- Gwendolyn Kallner, age 44, of Brazil
- Christopher Loughmiller, age 26, of Brazil
- Robert Moore, age 46, of Brazil
- Sankey Rust, age 32, of Brazil
- Laura Sproul, age 31, of Brazil
- Joseph David Havey, age 44, of Cloverdale
- Edgar Perez a/k/a “Igor” a/k/a “Ninote,” age 32, of Columbus
- Scott Campbell, age 45, of Poland
- Donald Cheatham a/k/a “Cat,” age 49, of Reelsville
- Theresa Goings a/k/a “Mad Mable,” age 53, of Riley
- Monica Beard, age 29, of Terre Haute
- Geoffrey Cheek, age 25, of Terre Haute
- Lori Larkins a/k/a “Blonde Girl,” age 37, of Terre Haute
- James C. Smith a/k/a “Chris,” age 50, of Terre Haute
- Michael E. Smith, age 38, of Terre Haute
- Kimberly A. Williams, age 44, of Terre Haute
The indictment alleges that between approximately December 2010 and February 1, 2012, the 18 named defendants participated in a statewide methamphetamine trafficking organization. It is alleged that Cassandra Cheatham, with assistance from Joseph Daniel Havey, would obtain large quantities of methamphetamine from Edgar Perez in Columbus. Cheatham would then allegedly provide the drugs to Brazil-area distributors, including Theresa Goings, Robert Moore, Donald Cheatham, Christopher Loughmiller, Sankey Rust, and Jacob Dean.
As part of this trafficking operation, it is alleged that Laura Sproul and Gwendolyn Kallner, both of Brazil, would assist in the transportation of the methamphetamine and the arrangement of local methamphetamine sales. Scott Campbell is alleged to have assisted Havey in the procurement of methamphetamine from Perez.
It is further alleged that after obtaining the drug product from Cassandra Cheatham, Goings would provide the methamphetamine to several other mid-level distributors, including Monica Beard, James C. Smith, Michael E. Smith, Geoffrey Cheek, and Kimberly Williams. The indictment alleges that Lori Larkins assisted Goings by transporting methamphetamine and money derived from drug sales.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to doing all that it can to help local law enforcement across the state combat the scourge of meth in Indiana,” Hogsett said. “And working together, I am certain we will continue to see our joint efforts produce significant results such as today’s statewide sting.”
This case is the result of an investigation lead by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Wabash Valley Safe Streets Task Force with significant contributions from the following partners: Indiana State Police, Clay County Sheriff’s Department, Vigo County Sheriff’s Department, Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, Clay County Prosecutor’s Office, Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office, Putnam County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Terre Haute Police Department.
“The FBI Wabash Valley Safe Streets Task Force began in September 2010 and is made up of officers and Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Indiana State Police, Terre Haute Police Department, and the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Holley. “The cooperative efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement were critical in making these arrests.”
Other agencies assisting in the investigation include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, Indianapolis Metro Drug Task Force, Putnam and Vigo County Adult Probation, and the Seeleyville Town Marshal.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthias D. Onderak, the conspiracy charge carries with it a possible sentence of 10 years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10 million. Loughmiller, Cassandra Cheatham, Cheek, Goings, and Beard also face an additional charge of distributing methamphetamine. Due to their criminal histories, some defendants may face sentencing enhancements, including a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and fines up to $20 million.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.