U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio
(216) 622-3600
May 21, 2015

Akron Men Sentenced to Prison for Having Firearms and Bringing Heroin from Chicago to Akron

Two Akron men were sentenced to prison for their roles in a conspiracy that brought heroin from Chicago to be sold around Ravenna and Akron, law enforcement officials said.

Rashid Carter, 30 was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Laverne Fortson, 40, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

“These two used guns to protect their pipeline of heroin, and used drug houses to spread that heroin throughout Akron,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

“ATF’s primary mission is to reduce violent crime,” said Donald Soranno, Special Agent in Charge for ATF’s Columbus Field Division. “The sentencing of these individuals, who brought guns and drugs into their community, sends the strong message that ATF, with our federal, state, and local partners, will not accept violence as the status quo.”

“These individuals collaborated to deliver poison to our streets and we collaborated to bring them to jail,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland office. “This case was another outstanding example of what can be accomplished when local, state and federal agencies work together to protect our community.”

Fortson and Carter received heroin shipments in 2013 and 2014. In turn, they provided the heroin to another dealer distribution in and around Akron and Ravenna, according to court documents.

Carter also purchased heroin from a supplier in the Chicago area for distribution in and around Akron. He and Fortson supplied heroin to several dealers in Akron, some of whom in turn distributed the drug to other dealers. Carter played a role in transporting the heroin and drug proceeds between Chicago and Akron. Fortson provided cash to facilitate the Chicago drug transactions, according to court documents.

Fortson and Carter owned and rented properties in Akron that they used to store, process, and distribute heroin, according to court documents.

It was part of the conspiracy that Fortson and Carter illegally use firearms to protect themselves and their drug proceeds, according to court documents.

Carter illegally possessed a Firestar, .45-caliber pistol, a Taurus, model 85, .38 special revolver and ammunition on June 6, 2014, despite previous convictions for possession of cocaine in Portage County and failure to comply with a police officer in Summit County.

Fortson illegally possessed a Harrington and Richardson 16-gauge shotgun and ammunition on June 18, 2014, despite a previous conviction for aggravated trafficking in Portage County.

This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Summit County Drug Unit, the Akron Police Department and the Portage County Drug Unit, with assistance from the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Portage County Prosecutor’s Office. The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David M. Toepfer and M. Kendra Klump.

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