Racketeering Indictment Charges 17 Tied to Unsolved Homicides, Drug Trafficking, Gun Crimes
COLUMBUS—A federal grand jury has indicted 17 people in connection with a series of violent crimes including 12 unsolved murders as well as other attempted murders, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, extortion and robbery. The defendants are accused of being an organized criminal enterprise known as the Short North Posse. Eleven defendants could face the death penalty if convicted of the crimes in the indictment.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Kevin R. Cornelius, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), James V. Allen, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Michael Boxler, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the indictment, which was unsealed today following early morning efforts to arrest and locate the defendants.
The indictment alleges that beginning in 2005, members of the enterprise originally referred to themselves solely as the Short North Posse. Later some members began subsets of the Short North Posse referring to themselves as the Cut Throat Committee and later the Homicide Squad. Still within the Short North Posse, Cut Throat Committee and Homicide Squad specialized in murders and robberies of rival gang members, other drug dealers, and targets thought to have large sums of cash or firearms. The Short North Posse also identified themselves nationally with the Crips street gang.
The indictment charges one or more of the defendants with 12 unsolved homicides, 23 attempted homicides, 41 violent felonies and 45 weapons offenses. The crimes occurred in Canal Winchester, Chillicothe, Columbus, Pataskala, Pickerington, and Zanesville, between 2005 and 2012.
The indictment is a result of a two-year long investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, DEA, ATF, Columbus Police, Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott’s Office, and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien’s Office. Fairfield County Prosecutor Gregg Marx, Licking County Prosecutor Kenneth Oswalt, Muskingum County Prosecutor D. Michael Haddox, Ross County Prosecutor Matthew S. Schmidt, law enforcement leaders from those counties, and officials of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction joined U.S. Attorney Stewart in announcing the charges.
“As part of the investigation, law enforcement set up a tip-line in February seeking information on unsolved murders in central Ohio,” U.S. Attorney Stewart said. “Because of public response and law enforcement determination and hard work, we’re announcing charges against people a grand jury alleges were responsible for 12 unsolved homicides.”
All defendants will appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge who will determine whether or not to hold them without bond until trial.
Stewart commended Assistant U.S. Attorneys David DeVillers and Kevin Kelley, as well as Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmy Lowe with Franklin County Prosecutor O’Brien’s Office, who are prosecuting the case.
Charges contained in an indictment are allegations. All defendants should be presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.