Eight from Cleveland Area Indicted for Firearm and Drug Violations Following Undercover Investigation
Eight people from the Cleveland area were indicted for federal firearms or narcotics violations as part of a long-term undercover investigation, law enforcement officials said.
Indicted in seven separate indictments are: Joyce E. Minter, 50, of Cleveland; Arllie Joe Jones, 68, of Cleveland; Darryl W. Thompson, 41, of Cleveland; Richard Smith, 59, of Cleveland Heights; Joseph L. Moore, 25, of Cleveland; Brian Abernathy, 33, of Cleveland; Christopher Scott, 32, of Cleveland, and Thomas L. Scott, 31, of Cleveland.
These indictments are the result of an undercover operation targeting the illegal sale of firearms and narcotics in Cleveland’s 4th Police District, on the city’s southeast side.
“This undercover operation is part of a comprehensive strategy to get illegal guns off the streets of Cleveland and lock up those who sell or possess them,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.
“Violence does not have to be the norm in our cities and streets,” said Donald Soranno, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Columbus Field Division. “As demonstrated with these cases, ATF will continue to work with our state and local law enforcement partners to remove violent offenders from our streets. If you live in a community that is plagued by crime, you don’t have to just look the other way. Work with us to make our community the place we all want it to be.”
“The illegal sale of firearms is something that plagues our community, perpetuating the problem of guns getting into the hands of criminals and becoming the tools used to commit violent crimes,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. “The dedicated officers and agents involved in this operation have partnered together to take weapons off of our streets and compile solid cases that will put violent offenders behind bars. The Cleveland Division of Police thanks the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms along with our other partners for their eagerness to assist in combating violent crime in our city.”
Thirty firearms were seized as part of the operation, including several Bushmaster .223-caliber semiautomatic rifles, a Beretta .40-caliber pistol, a Tangfolio 9 mm pistol, a Hi Point 9 mm pistol, a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber pistol, a Rohm .22-caliber revolver, a BRNO .25-caliber pistol, a Norinco pistol, a F.I.E. .38-caliber revolver, a Remington .22-caliber rifle, a Iver Johnson .38-caliber revolver, a Ruger .380-caliber pistol, a Intratec 9 mm pistol, a Ruger .22-caliber pistol and a SWD 9 mm pistol.
Charges against additional defendants are expected to be filed in state court in coming weeks.
According to the indictments unsealed today in U.S. District Court:
United States v. Richard Smith: Smith is charged with possessing a Hi Point 9 mm semiautomatic rifle, a Beretta 9 mm semiautomatic rifle, a Romarm/Cugir .39-caliber semiautomatic rifle and a Bushmaster .223-caliber semiautomatic rifle, despite convictions for burglary and theft.
United States v. Joyce E. Minter and Arllie Joe Jones: Jones is charged in a 15-count indictment with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition for having a High Standard .22-caliber revolver and six rounds of ammunition, despite a previous conviction for felonious assault with a firearm specification.
Minter is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition for having a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun with two loaded magazines and a loaded Ruger .357-caliber revolver, despite a previous conviction for conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possession of a firearm in relation to a crime.
Minter and Jones are charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and distribution of heroin.
United States v. Darryl W. Thompson: Thompson is charged in a seven-count indictment with possessing a Weirauch .32-caliber revolver and a Phoenix Arms .22-caliber pistol despite previous convictions for drug trafficking and attempted escape. He also faces multiple charges of distribution of crack cocaine.
United States v. Christopher Scott and Thomas L. Scott: The Scotts are charged in a 13-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine, as well as multiple counts of distribution of crack cocaine and distribution of heroin.
United States v. Joseph Moore: Moore is charged with nine counts of distribution of heroin.
United States v. Brian D. Abernathy: Abernathy is charged with five counts of distribution of heroin and two counts of distribution of crack cocaine.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel J. Riedl, Marisa Darden and Matthew B. Kall following an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force. The NOLETF is a task force comprised of investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland Division of Police, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the police departments of Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Lakewood, the Regional Transit Authority, Westlake and Shaker Heights. The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiatives, which supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate or reduce drug trafficking in Ohio.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
An indictment 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.