Federal officials from the U.S. Department of Justice have indicted 43 of 79 individuals implicated in two drug conspiracies for their roles in conspiring to sell large amounts of controlled substances in the Mansfield area. All but three of the defendants are from the Mansfield area or nearby communities in Ohio. Three of the defendants are from Detroit. The suspects were arrested during a pair of sweeping multi-agency raids in the early morning hours of Thursday, February 28, 2019.
According to the DOJ’s press release, the 40+ defendants were implicated in two separate drug conspiracies:
- The first 42-count indictment named 23 individuals as defendants. They were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, oxycodone, heroin, and fentanyl, in addition to other charges. Authorities allege that beginning in January 2016, the defendants obtained drugs from suppliers in Detroit and Mansfield, and subsequently worked with others to redistribute and sell the drugs in the area.
- In the second case, 20 individuals were hit with a 61-count indictment for conspiracy with intent to distribute methamphetamine, crack cocaine, cocaine, and heroin, among other charges. DOJ officials allege the defendants conspired from 2015 to the time of arrest to obtain large quantities of the drugs to distribute to other dealers who in turn sold them in the Mansfield area. The DOJ also alleges the conspiracy operated several drug houses in Mansfield and Crestline for the purpose of storing and distributing the controlled substances.
In addition to the 43 defendants named in the pair of federal indictments, an additional 36 people were charged with drug offenses in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas.
Drug Conspiracies, Raids & Criminal Charges
The indictments are a massive bust, and they serve to highlight the scope of federal drug crime investigations, the aggressiveness with which they're conducted, and how various agencies collaborate to take down defendants. In total, nearly 200 officers from the FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals, U.S. Attorney’s Office, METRICH Drug Task Force, Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Mansfield PD, and Ohio State Patrol were involved in the February 28th raids. Many were likely involved in investigating the trafficking, distribution, and sales operations over the preceding months.
Indictments of this magnitude also provide an example of a few important aspects of criminal law:
- Conspiracy – Conspiracy means “conspiring” to commit a crime, usually when two or more people agree to commit some type of criminal offense. In federal conspiracy cases, the government does not have to prove you actually committed the offense in order to charge defendants. Prosecutors use conspiracy charges across many different cases – from drug conspiracies to fraud, white-collar crimes, and violent crimes – in order to obtain a broad set of evidence and ensnare more participants.
- Drug Crimes – Law enforcement at the local, state, and federal level are increasingly focused on drug crimes, especially those involving dangerous controlled substances that have hit Ohio particularly hard. Penalties for these offenses range depending on a number of factors, including whether charges are brought by the federal government or the state, a person’s criminal history, and the type and quantity of drugs involved. Offenses involving distribution, trafficking, and intent to sell or distribute can put serious prison time on the table.
- Federal or State – The takedowns involved a total of 79 conspirators, 43 of whom were indicted in federal court and 36 charged locally. Whether or not any case will be charged by the feds or the state depends a lot on the circumstances involved. However, federal prosecutors are likely to focus their efforts on large conspiracies which are interstate in nature, and / or are committed within federal jurisdictions such as the U.S. Postal Service. The amounts and types of drugs involved also factor into whether suspects are charged in federal or state court.
Conspiracy and drug crime cases are complex matters, and they demand the attention of experienced defense attorneys. At Koffel Brininger Nesbitt, our legal team aggressively protects the rights, freedoms, and futures of clients charged with all types of drug crimes, including drug trafficking and sales, marijuana trafficking, and crimes involving heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, among others. Call (614) 675-4845 or contact us online to speak with an attorney.