CLEVELAND - Eighteen northeast residents have been arrested in a cocaine conspiracy entailing guns, body armor and more than $180,000.
The people taken into custody were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in a 42-count indictment taking place beginning in April 2011.
Those indicted were:
Nedra Battle, 44, of University Heights
Samuel Bradford, 49, of Cleveland
Clarzel Buckner, 27, of Warrensville Heights
Willliam Byrd, 39, of Cleveland
George Clements, 48, of Cleveland
Richard Eckford, 48, of Mentor
Brandt Holly, 45, of Cleveland
Anthony Howard, 40, of Euclid
Raymond Jackson, 44, of Cleveland
Marcus Lane, 48, of Cleveland
Albert Martin IV, 59, of University Heights
Raymond McCollum, 45, of Cleveland
Michael Philpott, 61, of University Heights
Donte Smith, 33, of Cleveland
Ricardo Thompson, 51, of Cincinnati
Derek Williams, 50, of Aurora
Nicholas Willoughby, 23, of Cleveland
Larnail Wright, 49, of Cleveland
Williams distributed multiple-ounce quantities of cocaine to Clements, Philpott, Byrd, Howard, Holly, Buckner, Bradford, Wright, Dial and others for redistribution, according to the indictment.
Donald Dial, who was charged separately, also distributed cocaine to Bradford, Wright, Smith, Lane, Battle, Jackson, Eckford, Martin IV, Thompson, McCollum and others, the indictment says.
Local establishments were meeting places in the alleged incidents. Authorities said Dial sometimes sold drugs from his business, Dawn's Market and Deli in Cleveland, to those involved.
Other deals with conspirators took place at or near The Meeting Place Bar and Lounge, according to the indictment.
Williams used stash houses in Cleveland and East Cleveland to hide the drugs, according to the indictment.
He also had customers use code, such as street numbers, to indicate the amount of cocaine they wanted to buy to try to thwart law enforcement, the indictment says.
Law enforcement agents searched multiple locations in April 2012, recovering more than $166,000 in cash and a bullet resistant vest from Williams' Aurora home, as well as nearly $10,000 in cash and three firearms from stash houses he used, according to the indictment.
Overall, prosecutors are seeking to forfeit more than $180,000 in cash, body armor, four handguns and a shotgun, according to the indictment, as well as 13 bottles of champagne seized from Williams' home.
Williams was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. He had previously been convicted of drug trafficking in 1990, the indictment says.
Donte Smith is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and body armor. He was convicted in 2002 of felonious assault with a firearm specification and attempted felonious assault with a firearm specification, according to the indictment.
The investigation was carried out by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force (NOLETF), the FBI and the Cleveland Division of Police.
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