Terra Haute, IN-(ENEWSPF)- U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett announced this afternoon the arrests of 15 defendants in what is alleged to have been a significant methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking operation in the Wabash Valley. According to an indictment unsealed in federal court today, the drug trafficking was allegedly orchestrated from a state-run prison facility by Wesley Hammond, a convicted drug trafficker who is serving a life sentence for his role in another drug trafficking operation that was dismantled by federal law enforcement in 2010.
“If found guilty, these defendants will soon find out what Wesley Hammond has already learned once before,” Hogsett said. “It may be tomorrow, it may be next week or next month, but if you engage in organized crime in the Wabash Valley, you will wake up to what these defendants heard this morning—the sound of federal agents at your door.”
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners are cracking down on drug activity in the Wabash Valley, and the penalties these defendants face should make clear how seriously federal law treats these crimes,” Hogsett added.
In July 2011, Wesley Hammond was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for his leadership of a methamphetamine trafficking organization in the Terre Haute-area. In that case, Hammond had used smuggled cell phones to run the conspiracy’s daily operations from his state prison cell. At the time of his sentencing, Hammond was ordered to serve the remainder of his state prison term, at which point he would be transferred to a federal prison facility.
The indictment alleges that from at least December 2012, Hammond again began using a smuggled cell phone from his state prison cell to organize a drug trafficking ring in the Wabash Valley. This was facilitated by Ivan Vanburen, a California resident who allegedly served as Hammond’s source for drugs. After being contacted by Hammond, Vanburen would allegedly ship both methamphetamine and cocaine to Indiana-based distributers. Those distributers would then provide the drugs to local Terre Haute traffickers.
The indictment alleges that throughout the conspiracy, members of the organization would “front” the methamphetamine and cocaine to the local Terre Haute traffickers. This meant that the lower-level members would receive the drugs on consignment, with drug proceeds sent back up the distribution chain once sales were made. In at least one case, the indictment alleges that Hammond and others arranged for an individual to be “pistol whipped” for their debts to the drug trafficking organization.
The defendants named in the indictment include:
- Wesley Hammond, a/k/a “Fe Fe,” age 42, incarcerated in Michigan City, Indiana
- Ivan Vanburen, age 48, of Corona, California
- Dewayne Perry, a/k/a “Snoopy,” age 40, of Terre Haute
- Kelley Kelly, age 49, of Terre Haute
- Calvin Brown, a/k/a “C-Murder,” age 34, of Terre Haute
- Roxanne Frakes, age 23, of Terre Haute
- Kelly Oxendine, age 45, of Terre Haute
- Ronald Roberts, a/k/a “June Bug,” age 47, of Terre Haute
- Shocka Hammond, age 24, of Terre Haute
- Ray Hashi Rivera, a/k/a “She Rock,” age 34, of Terre Haute
- Jordan Daniels, a/k/a “Little Homey,” age 19, of Terre Haute
- Anthony Nettles, a/k/a “AJ,” age 44, of Terre Haute
This investigation was the result of outstanding law enforcement work by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force, the United States Marshals Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, as well as agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Local partners included the Indiana State Police and members of the Vigo County Drug Task Force, which consists of representatives from both the Terre Haute Police Department and the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthias D. Onderak, who is prosecuting the case for the government, all 15 defendants face a prison sentence of 10 years to life if they are found guilty. Onderak said that at least six of these defendants may face life imprisonment without the chance for parole due to their extensive criminal histories. Many of the defendants may also qualify for sentencing enhancements if found guilty, due to their “career offenders” status.
Informations, indictments, and criminal complaints are only a charge and are not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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