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Feds bust international drug ring here, charge 28

Published: Fri, April 1, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.

By Kristine Gill



Just six of 28 suspects — many of them Youngstown area residents — accused of involvement in an international drug-trafficking organization remained at large Wednesday afternoon.

City officials and local FBI leaders announced a 101-count indictment against the 28, urging those remaining to turn themselves in. “That’s the safest way,” said U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach.

The group is accused of trafficking cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, crack cocaine and marijuana from San Diego and New York to the Youngstown area from 2006 to 2010.

A long-term effort by the FBI, Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration brought the 22nd person into custody Wednesday.

Dettelbach likened the ring to a diversified business that sold a range of drugs instead of specializing in one type.

“This drug-trafficking organization operated almost like a Costco,” he said. “Moving wholesale, bulk and retail amounts of heroin, cocaine, crack, marijuana and methamphetamine from one coast to the other and then eventually to Youngstown, Ohio where it was sold on the streets and poisoned our community.”

Drugs also were brought into the Philadelphia area and New York City. Assistant Special Agent Pete Bickmore with the Cleveland FBI said the ring has direct ties to Mexican drug cartels but would not specify which, as the investigation is ongoing.

One of the accused leaders in the ring, Brian Greene of Youngstown, was gunned down in March 2010, but the organization continued in his absence through his girlfriend, named in the indictment, Tremaine Mabry of Youngstown.

“The fact that Brian Greene was gunned down in a drive-by shooting speaks to the violence associated with large-scale narcotics organizations and drug trafficking,” Dettelbach said.

Greene and Mabry would obtain large shipments of cocaine, heroin and marijuana from two men in New York City and either brought them or had the drugs brought to Youngstown.

In turn, the NYC group would receive cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana from a group in California. That California group also shipped methamphetamine directly to Youngstown.

Of the 28 included in the indictment, those from the Youngstown area are: Michael Cylar, Austintown; Shawntel Patton, Poland; Andrew Ryan, Salem; Sherman Sanders, Girard; David Melfi, Torrey Harris, Tremaine Mabry, Marlan Everson, Toye Larry, Michael Hamlett, Mychaelann DeFrank, Matthew Porter, Andre Johnson, Lashell Penson and Victor Higgins, all of Youngstown.

In September investigators obtained 6 kilograms of cocaine from some of the 28 in California.

Also in September, the FBI, task force and Ohio State Highway Patrol seized 13.2 pounds of cocaine and arrested Michael T. Argentine of Santa Barbara.

In November 2010, the largest methamphetamine bust in Northeast Ohio’s history took place when investigators seized 13 pounds of it from three men, Daniel Hernandez-Meza and Oscar Esteban Lavenant-Escalante of San Diego, and Timothy A. Vennemann of St. Paul, Minn.

Police Chief Jimmy Hughes and Mayor Jay Williams thanked the FBI and the task force for their collaboration.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Williams said of the effort to rid the city of similar criminals. “This is an effort that must continue.”

Hughes agreed, saying the investigation has so far taken a significant amount of drugs off the city’s streets and that any drugs that stayed in the city could have been a jumping off point for separate drug trafficking crimes.

Dettelbach applauded the collaborative efforts of federal, state and local partners, citing a press conference here last week, where authorities announced the indictment of 23 men in connection with the LSP gang on Youngstown’s South Side.

At the same time, Dettelbach admitted that the indictment doesn’t signal an end to drug use in the area but it does send a message to others looking to commit similar crimes.

“We’ll have more. It’s not going to stop,” he said. “It’d be naive to say that, but this is a significant dent.”


1cheybaby2(102 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

I don't Live In Y-Town , But That Is So Great. Don't Stop What Effects Y-Town Effects Warren And Surrounding Areas. WE NEED TO CLEAN UP and Throw The Trash Out of our area. . Keep There Trashy Butts In Prison For a Heck Of a Long Time.Then Band Them out of these Part If they ever get out. people will sell there Souls, There Children For Those Drugs. Drug Addictive Babies Are Born Everyday, So Very Many Die Or Suffers For Many Yrs To Come. , Give Our Children, Grand Children a Future Without Drugs,

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2lee(544 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

cheybaby I agree with you but the reality is that all this will do is raise the price of drugs until someone else takes there place. There is so much money to be made the replacements are already in line

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3PhilMcCrackin(58 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Due to its location,Youngstown always has and probably always will be a hub for crime and drugs.I'm not saying to stop trying to clean it up. If anything we need to step up the enforcement to make it not worth being here anymore.

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4PhilMcCrackin(58 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Where are the pictures and names of these morons? I saw something about it on the news. Are we protecting their rights? It's funny how we desperately protect our criminals rights,but if some law abiding citizen has a controversial job or situation we will publish their name and address in a second so that people will go trash their property.

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5missled(1 comment)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

I know not many would agree with me but if they legalised some of these drugs it would cut crime for one. Keep it in a monitored environment which would keep people from overdosing. It would bring revenue to the area and be controlled. They have done it for years in Sweden, I think the UK as well I believe there are several countries that have legalised it. Their crime rate dropped significantly. Lets face it we are losing the war on drugs they bust 28 and 200 more get away and the 28 will be up and running again as soon as they get out. Its time to change our tactics. There are pros and con's to everything but if you don't try how will you know if it will work or not? Its just a thought but it could work if done properly.

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6Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

"One of the accused leaders in the ring, Brian Greene of Youngstown, was gunned down in March 2010, but the organization continued in his absence through his girlfriend, named in the indictment, Tremaine Mabry of Youngstown."

Thats the mentality of these people, her boyfriend gets gunned down and she just keeps on running the dope. So I guess death don't mean much to these animals.

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Put a squeeze on the street sellers and let's continue rooting out the rest of the roaches !



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8woolyd(579 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Damn i guess now ohio state will be losing some of the drug money they used to pay for prostitutes and cash gifts to their football recruits. First Tressell now one of his former star players it is just getting worse for the fuggeye state

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9borylie(946 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Looks like Governor Kasich is helping to clean up the area like he said he would try to do.

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101madmom4real(2 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

WOW......his last name was Greer get it right! He had well mannered kids that were left behind.He came from a 2 parent home, football star, worked to keep kids straight worked with several talented men and women that were into music. Sometimes we get into situations we cant get out of.LETS look at the history of youngstown...HOW MANY JUDGES,SHERIFFS,LAWYERS,BUSINESS PEOPLE ARE CORRUPT???? HOW about police out at plazaview that watch people walk by their cars with blunts(WEED) grandma lives out there and cant go see her because of fear!!!!Start making a means of providing for family and fix the system. once someone has a record its real hard to make it.NOT impossible,hard!!! YOUNGSTOWN always was,is,will be crime filled!!!!(and its all backgrounds take a look two parent home...lol whats the white collar excuse??)50 off the streets 100 to replace...more killings to get the top spot!!History repeats its self! WaKE up!!! Look at the head because the tail follows.......

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11MFC997(261 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Lotta nice WASPy sounding names there LOL ... yeah guess the dude just couldn't help himself ...

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12Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago


"HOW about police out at plazaview that watch people walk by their cars with blunts(WEED) grandma lives out there and cant go see her because of fear!!!"

Huh? Then that's where the public needs to put in a call to the police chief, contact the media, video tape the police doing that and do something about it. Not live in fear, take back the projects instead of letting the crime infested animals take over. Be productive in society, especially if Grandma is living in that. It's pitiful because everyone turns the other cheek. It's not going to go away but you can make a difference instead of relying on everyone else.

"Start making a means of providing for family and fix the system."

Fix the system? Quit having 5-10 babies with 5-10 different baby daddies before the age of 30 then. That's fixing the system. If you want to have children nowadays be responsible and quit pushing them out to get more benefits from the system .

"once someone has a record its real hard to make it.NOT impossible,hard!!!"

I have a felony and I'm doing alright with myself since I've been out of prison 2 years ago. You know why? Because when I got out I CHANGED myself, instead of going back to what got me in prison in the first place. The ones that get a slap on the wrist or have a record are just a number in the penal code. It's a revolving door for these animals and they don't care to change. Big difference. To them its just a temporary setback and then back on the streets. Death is the only end to there career choice.

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13fitnessbuff(57 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Andrew Ryan is white. I know a gal that dated him.

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14northsidesfinest(3 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

Why dont we all stop wasting are time commenting on Vindy and get off the couch and do something to help this community change?And does anyone find it odd that the government names someone who passed away a year ago?Innocent until proven guilty right?When does he get his day in court?What about his family and friends who are still grieving?One year to the day he gets killed in the street they release all this...Why dont they find who killed him first?May he rest in peace!God bless Greene Family

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15Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago


"Why dont we all stop wasting are time commenting on Vindy and get off the couch and do something to help this community change?"

And what should the community exactly do? I for one cooperate with the police unlike the majority of people/criminals.

"And does anyone find it odd that the government names someone who passed away a year ago?"

Huh? This was a 2 year investigation, Greene was shoot down in March 2010. A major player in this operation. Not sure why your blaming the government for it.

"Innocent until proven guilty right?"

Who? Greene? His girlfriend took over the Operation when he was shoot down. Guilty wouldn't you say?

"What about his family and friends who are still grieving?"

I'm sure they are grieving, but his career choice put himself in that position. No one to blame. And do you think he was caring about his family and friends putting them in the line of fire for his career choice?

"Why dont they find who killed him first?"

Because drug dealers like this don't like to snitch. You think it's so easy to just find a killer? Join the FBI or Police department if you think it's so easy.

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16Stan(9923 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

The chatter from the hood is that they don't view this a a crackdown on crime but an onslaught against economic opportunity . The money generated by drug dealing in The Valley is substantial . It is all tax free and the taxpayers pay for the fallout from it .

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17seminole(476 comments)posted 5 years, 1 month ago

So now we know how all these hoodrats roll in Escalades with rims and candy bag rigs...

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18imustbebored(4 comments)posted 5 years ago

I personally know ONE of these defendants. And I know she was NOWHERE NEAR as they're trying to make this out here. Not perfect by any means, but nowhere near the way they are trying to make this.
Like it was some big major ring...No way DEFINITELY not her. Which makes me wonder how many others on this list were basically just "small fries" getting caught up in the atmosphere there.... There are WAY bigger fish to fry and it's a shame they went to these lengths for some really petty activity in comparison to other things that go on there in Youngstown. The murders, the rapes, the gang activity. She is currently serving a sentence. "Doing her time for the crime" she commited. And now with this she'll never have that opportunity to get out and be different as she was so focused on doing. As I have done. As Lifes2short has done. As well as many others that learn their lesson. I just don't get it. I feel like for all the money they take in they should be focused on the TRUE DIRT. THAT'S where they need to start. And from there it will eventually take a fall. I'm so happy to have had the opportunity to move out of that country and live in a normal society, with traditional values and integrity that runs through the entire community. This is a real tragedy for her and her children and it's utter rubbish that I see her name on this list.... What a waste of government funding and efforts that could've been used to catch a true criminal. Get your head out, and do something that matters instead of making useless statistics out of people.

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