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Feds indict 42 from Warren area on drug, weapons charges

Published: Thu, April 18, 2013 @ 12:01 a.m.


U.S. Attorney Steven M. Dettelbach reveals the results of an investigation and explains why close to 200 agents fanned out across Warren and arrested 65 people. Officials said they put a major dent in a Detroit-to-Warren drug-and guns operation. At right is Warren Police Chief Tim Bowers.




Arraignments began Wednesday afternoon in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for 42 people from the Warren area indicted on drug and weapons charges — many of whom were rounded up earlier in the day in a massive show of force.

Added to those are 55 people indicted in federal courts in a yearlong investigation officials named “Little D’Town” because of the Detroit influence that has gripped Warren in recent years, said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney.

Dettelbach and other federal officials, as well as local authorities, had a news conference at the Warren Police Department to reveal the results of the investigation and explain why close to 200 agents fanned out across the city and arrested 65 people.

Officials spoke near a table containing some of the 155 firearms purchased or seized during the investigation.

Some of the weapons were recovered through a covert operation in which federal agents set up a fake business in the city and made contact with people dealing in illegal weapons.

Federal officials also conducted wiretaps on the phones of many of the individuals now charged.

“These cases have taken an arsenal off the streets of Warren and cut off several pipelines of heroin, cocaine and other illegal drugs,” Dettelbach said.

Mayor Doug Franklin called Wednesday “a really a great day in the city of Warren” because of the promise that removal of so many drugs, weapons and criminals will reduce crime and violence in the city.

Police Chief Tim Bowers, who along with Safety-Service Director

Enzo Cantalamessa asked the federal government for its help a year ago, said he believes the effort will lead to a much more peaceful summer.

Robin Shoemaker, Columbus field chief for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said the approach used was designed to catch the most dangerous offenders committing crimes that will result in lengthy prison sentences.

Shoemaker said the 55 people charged federally are likely to get prison sentences of 10, 20 or 30 years or more. The location where they are being held and the status of their court hearings were not available Wednesday.

Jeff Orr, commander of the Trumbull Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force, said it was difficult to carry on such a long-term investigation without being able to make arrests in most cases until now.

“It looked like we were doing nothing,” Orr said.

While the investigation was ongoing, the Detroit drug and violence connections in town became apparent with the Nov. 11, 2012, killing of Marco Dukes of Warren behind an apartment house on Elm Road near downtown.

Derrick Peete, 22, and Dale Hatch, 25, both of Detroit are charged in the murder.

A 21-count federal indictment unsealed Wednesday charges Peete with two counts of heroin possession.

The drug indictment gives details of Peete’s activities at the time of the Dukes killing, quoting him talking to Anthony Ector Jr., identified by federal officials as one of the biggest of the local drug dealers.

A Nov. 7 conversation was about Peete selling Ector heroin and a 9-mm handgun, according to the documents.

Ector, 29, of Warren, and Valentino Thomas Sr., 41, of Detroit, sold 9.9 grams of heroin to an undercover agent Nov. 9 — two days before the Dukes killing — the documents revealed.

Ector is charged with 21 counts of heroin distribution, and Thomas is charged with three counts of heroin distribution. They are among 21 defendants also charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine.

Of the 42 people charged in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court, 23 were arraigned Wednesday afternoon by Judge Andrew Logan. Some were released after posting as little as $2,500 bond. Others will be required to post as much as $25,000 bond to be released.

In a news release, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said the individuals charged in the investigation “brought more than just drugs and guns into the Youngstown area. Their operation brought more violent crime into our neighborhoods as well.”

At about 11:30 a.m., about a dozen agents showed up at 1633 Arthur Drive NW, Warren,

and arrested Don Drokin, 28, on a Trumbull County warrant charging him with marijuana trafficking.

Darryl Caldwell, who lives next door, said he heard three loud booms at the house where Drokin was staying, looked out and saw about 10 police vehicles and a dozen police officers, some with battering rams and shields.

Caldwell said it's upsetting that police believe someone from his neighborhood of nicely manicured lawns and well-kept houses is dealing in drugs.

“I moved out of a neighborhood to get out of this crap,” Caldwell said. “I work hard every day. That’s not the way it should be.”

Caldwell said this is not the first time someone from the street has been charged with drug dealing, however.

“Nobody’s safe,” he said.


1dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

How many of these arrested live in government funded homes or apartments? kick them the heck out. My feeling is if you need handouts from the government but can deal drugs or have your baby daddy do it then go get a job!!!!!!!! lock em all up. then hit Liberty and Boardman to get rid of those drug dealers.

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2sue(177 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Something tells me that these people would have had these weapons even if gun background checks were in effect.

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3Sensible(148 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

Arrested on firearms charges???

I thought that the government WASN'T prosecuting firearms violators. At least that what the gun lobby keeps saying.

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4cambridge(3814 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

155 guns off the street and out of the hands of criminals. Not to worry, the teabagger/ republican senate just made sure they can easily buy more as soon as they make bail.

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5RTS1416(117 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

There were republicans that voted for it and democrats that voted against it.

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6cambridge(3814 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

41 teabagger/republicans and 5 coward/democrats voted against background checks to keep guns from criminals, the mentally ill and greater penalties for gun trafficking. I would say the teabagger/ republicans own it. Anyone that voted against that amendment from either party should never be elected again.

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7anothermike(222 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I could NOT agree more with Cambridge.....Change needs to start somewhere....of course we cannot do too much about what WAS, but maybe we can change what happens in the future. I will , for sure, not ever even consider voting for any teabagger or coward democrat who voted against.....

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8RTS1416(117 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

I am in favor of the proposed changes, just pointing out that the SENATE failed to the job that should have been done not an individual party.

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9HappyBob(355 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

91% of the Republican voted against background checks,
10% of Democrates voted against background checks.

Looks, feels, smells like a party-line vote !

The votes yesterday had nothing to do with gun regulations or school safety or gun trafficking. The votes had everything to do with party and getting reelected.

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10papa1(711 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

morning joes' joe scarbrough showed a clip of an American terrorist telling other terrorist that it's easy to buy a gun. he told them, "all you have to do is go online or walk into any gun shop in America." he said, "what are you waiting for?" it was also reported that if not for the nra the gunpowder used in the boston bombing could have had an ingredient in it that could have helped officials trace where it came from but the nra lobbyist in Washington blocked it from being used. this is outrageous. the nra is a bloodsoaked organization that protects baby killers and now deadly bombers from doing their heinous deeds. the nra sucks!!!

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11dawn421(265 comments)posted 2 years, 9 months ago

this article was about indictments and you turn it into a battle over gun laws. stay on point

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