New Albany – Josh J. Minkler, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and Russell M. Coleman, United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky, announced today the dismantling of a large drug trafficking organization (DTO) selling methamphetamine in Indiana and Kentucky.
“Drug trafficking brings gun violence that many of our Midwestern communities are experiencing,” said Minkler. “Those who choose to sell drugs in our neighborhoods will experience the full brunt of federal law enforcement and realize the Ohio River will not stifle or cooperative effort between law enforcement agencies.”
“The Department of Justice and our law enforcement partners stood shoulder to shoulder last week to promise intelligence-driven targeting of these violent drug trafficking organizations harming this great city,” said U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman. “Today’s arrests are yet another deposit on this promise; stay tuned.”
Those charged in the Southern District of Indiana with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine include: Clifton Jones, 31, Gregory Churchill, 33, and Stanley Duke, Jr., 41 all from Louisville; Billy Dale Sears, 44, Harry Edelen, 44, Roger Carroll, Jr., 47, from New Albany, Indiana; and Chad Albertson, 40, from Salem, Indiana. Duke faces an additional charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The indictment alleges that Billy Dale Sears was the leader and supervisor of the DTO which conspired to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine. Sears would obtain the methamphetamine from Clifton Jones and Gregory Churchill who both lived in Louisville. Sears would then distribute the methamphetamine to mid-level dealers in New Albany, Jeffersonville, Salem and Louisville for redistribution throughout Southwestern Indiana and Northern Kentucky.
Throughout the conspiracy, it is alleged that the DTO sold methamphetamine on a “front’ basis, where defendants provided large quantities of methamphetamine on consignment to distributors. Payment was received after the sale by other distributors. The defendants also used telephones, using code language and text messages to discuss matters relative the trafficking operation.
In a separate indictment, returned by a grand jury in Louisville on December 5, 2017, and unsealed today, eleven defendants, all from Louisville, were charged in a single count with conspiring with each other to possess with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, a Schedule II controlled substance.
Defendant Clifton Jones additionally faces charges in the Western District of Kentucky, along with co-defendants Dontay L. Rice, Eric R. Estey, 35, Dandre L. Taylor, 35, Odell P. Smith, Jr., 34, William C. Freeman, 32, James E. Hall, 33, Chad J. Heiser, 37, Clarence W. Rice, Jr., Alex M. Bowles, 25, and Joseph R. Willis, 21.
All but defendant Heiser were arrested Thursday, and are in federal custody. Defendants charged in the WDKY are scheduled for an initial appearance before Magistrate Judge Dave Whalin, in Louisville, at 2:00pm. Defendants charged in the Southern District of Indiana were scheduled to appear Friday morning before Magistrate Judge Van T. Willis.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Indiana and Kentucky, IRS Criminal Investigation, ATF, United States Marshal Service, Jeffersonville Police Department, New Albany Police Department, Clarksville Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Department, Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police and the Louisville Metro Police Department.
“Working collaboratively with our federal, state, and local partners we are able to target, disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises such as this that use violence in the commission of their illegal activities so they can no longer terrorize our communities,” said W. Jay Abbott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Indianapolis Division.
“The FBI and its partners remain dedicated to disrupting and dismantling the most violent offenders and organizations through intelligence-driven investigations,” said Amy S. Hess, Special Agent in Charge FBI Louisville. “Our goal remains the same: stop the violence, get drugs and weapons off the streets, and deliver justice for the people who live in the communities we serve.”
According to Assistant United States Attorney Lauren M. Wheatley who is prosecuting this case for the Southern District of Indiana and Assistant United States Attorney J. Scott Davis, from the Western District of Kentucky, all defendants face ten years to life if convicted.
An indictment is merely a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty in federal court.