U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
(202) 514-2007/TDD (202) 514-1888
March 10, 2015

Federal Grand Jury in Fort Wayne, Indiana Returns Indictments in Large Scale Cocaine Distribution Network

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Indiana announced today two indictments charging six persons in what is alleged to be the largest cocaine distribution network in the greater Fort Wayne, Indiana, area.

These indictments are the result of an extensive law enforcement investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Fort Wayne Safe Streets Task Force. In addition to the FBI, the Task Force consists of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, the Fort Wayne Police Department and the Indiana State Police.

There were five people charged with conspiracy to deliver more than five kilograms of cocaine: Allan L. Bates, 37, of Fort Wayne, Indiana; James W. Lepper, 66, of Butler, Indiana; Larry J. Norton, 63, of Mission Texas, formerly of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Eric D. White, 52, of Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Ryan Bowman, 35, of Payne, Ohio.

One individual, DeWayne Lewis, 40, of Greenwood, Indiana was charged in a separate indictment with possession with intent to deliver over five kilograms.

All defendants are in custody and are being held without bond. During the course of this extensive investigation, law enforcement executed 17 federal searches in Indiana, Ohio and Texas. In addition, the DeKalb County and Johnson County Prosecutor’s offices obtained two state search warrants. All of these searches resulted in the seizure of more than 100 kilograms of cocaine, over $5.9 million in U.S. currency and numerous firearms and vehicles.

Great assistance was also provided by the McAllen, Texas, and Toledo, Ohio, offices of the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service—Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana, along with the Auburn Police Department, the Greenwood Police Department, the Kendallville Police Department, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, the Indiana Multi-Agency Group Enforcement (IMAGE) representing law enforcement in DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben Counties and the Northeast Indiana SWAT.

This case has been assigned to and will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony W. Geller of the Northern District of Indiana.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office emphasized that an indictment is merely an allegation and that all persons charged are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

If convicted in court, any specific sentence to be imposed will be determined by the judge after a consideration of federal sentencing statutes and the federal sentencing guidelines.

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