U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio
(937) 225-2910
April 16, 2015

Five Indicted in Large-Scale Heroin and Cocaine Distribution and Money Laundering Conspiracy

CINCINNATI—A federal grand jury has charged Christopher Whitfield, 41, of Cincinnati, Ohio, Tonia Whitfield, 39, of Cincinnati, Ohio and Steven Griffin, 39, of, Cincinnati, Ohio, with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute one hundred grams or more of heroin, and five hundred grams or more of cocaine. Also, Christopher Whitfield, Tonia Whitfield, Dy Shay Anderson, 22, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Icierra Martin-Bronson, 37, of Cincinnati, Ohio were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering in an indictment returned in Cincinnati.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS), Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Division, and Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell announced the indictment returned yesterday.

According to the indictment, the group allegedly processed, cut, packaged and stored cocaine and heroin in stash houses in the Cincinnati area prior to distribution.

Upon executing a search warrant, investigators found approximately one-quarter kilogram of heroin and over a kilogram of cocaine, plus narcotics paraphernalia (hydraulic presses, narcotics wrappers, grinders, scales, and baggies), numerous firearms, ammunition, and ballistic vests (body armor) and approximately $1.25 million in cash at the Cincinnati stash houses.

The indictment further alleges that between January 2011 and December 2014 Christopher Whitfield, Tonia Whitfield, Dy Shay Anderson, and Icierra Martin-Bronson conspired to commit money laundering by conducting financial transactions to launder the proceeds and/or profits earned from the illegal narcotics trafficking through various methods. They allegedly deposited smaller denominations of currency into bank accounts held in the names of others; deposited cash into bank accounts for the purpose of paying bills; obtained cashier’s checks to pay for Christopher Whitfield’s personal and business credit cards; used cash to purchase a 2010 BMW and purchased rental properties on behalf of EDC Properties with cash or cashier’s checks. Christopher Whitfield also allegedly filed false federal income tax returns with the IRS for the 2012 and 2013 tax years, by underreporting the amount of income he received in each of those years.

Christopher Whitfield, Tonia Whitfield, and Steven Griffin were each charged with one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute one hundred grams or more of heroin and five hundred grams or more of cocaine.

Christopher Whitfield and Steven Griffin were each charged with one count of possession with the intent to distribute one hundred grams or more of heroin; one count of possession with the intent to distribute five hundred grams or more of cocaine; one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm; and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a narcotics offense.

Christopher Whitfield was also charged with two counts of maintaining a drug involved premises. Steven Griffin was also charged with one count of maintaining a drug involved premises.

Christopher Whitfield, Tonia Whitfield, Dy Shay Anderson, and Icierra Martin-Bronson were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Tonia Whitfield and Dy Shay Anderson were also each charged with three counts of money laundering, and Icierra Martin-Bronson with two counts of money laundering.

Conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute one hundred grams or more of heroin and five hundred grams or more of cocaine carries a maximum prison term of 40 years in prison, and has a mandatory penalty of at least five years in prison.

Possession with the intent to distribute one hundred grams or more of heroin carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and has a mandatory penalty of at least five years in prison.

Possession with the intent to distribute five hundred grams or more of cocaine carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and has a mandatory penalty of at least five years in prison.

Being a felon in possession of a firearm carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Possessing a firearm in furtherance of a narcotics offense carries a maximum penalty of Life in prison, and has a mandatory minimum penalty of five years to be served consecutively to any other sentence imposed. Maintaining a drug involved premises, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Christopher Whitfield was arrested on March 31, 2015 on charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession with the intent to distribute heroin. He was detained following his arrest.

Steven Griffin was arrested on March 31, 2015 on a charge of possession with the intent to distribute in excess of 100 grams of heroin. He was detained following his arrest.

“The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs. Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers could not finance their organizations,” said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Today’s indictment is a direct result of the excellent partnership that the IRS, U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, and Cincinnati Police Department has in combating major drug trafficking organizations, which have such a negative impact on our community.”

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative law enforcement investigation, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Karl Kadon and Jessica Knight, who are prosecuting the case.

An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.

 

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