Fourteen people have been indicted by dual grand juries investigating a ring accused of shipping some 23 kilograms of heroin from Chicago into Steubenville, Ohio, and the surrounding area.
Federal and local authorities on Friday announced the charges in Steubenville, saying they are the result of a joint effort to crack down on heroin trafficking and related shootings in the Ohio Valley.
Most of those charged had been arrested earlier this month and in November by the Jefferson County (Ohio) Drug Task Force and other agencies.
The six under federal indictment in Columbus, including several originally from Chicago, are charged with drug dealing and gun offenses that could put them in prison for 15 years.
The suspects charged locally by a Jefferson County grand jury include several from Steubenville and nearby Weirton, W.Va., as well as three from Chicago.
Carter Stewart, the U.S. attorney in Columbus, and Jefferson County prosecutor Jane Hanlin, who was recently deputized as an assistant U.S. attorney, said the case was a “turning point” in battling heroin dealers plaguing Steubenville and other small towns in the region.
Officials said the drug ring had been transporting heroin into Ohio from Chicago for the last two years.
Drug task force officers swept through the area two weeks ago with search warrants and arrested several Chicago natives, including Kinlawyed Hendrix, 27, who had been living in Steubenville, and Joseph Dennis, 30, who was living in Toronto, Ohio. Another Chicago native, Calvin Bryant, 26, of Canton, Ohio, was arrested the previous week.
The other defendants are: Robert Simmons Jr., 19, of Steubenville; Jessie Birden, 21, of Steubenville; Berryon Moore III, 25, of Steubenville; Lavinia Hearon, 29, of Chicago; Jacari Benson, 30, of Weirton; Frederick McGowan, 39, of Madison, Wisc.; Robert Jackson, 32, of Steubenville; Harry Stackhouse, 25, of Steubenville; Rashann Mukes, 28, of Steubenville; Kyle Irvin, 29, of Chicago; and Charles Thompson, 24, of Chicago.