Updated Wed, Jul 30, 2014 10:31 am
The alleged supplier to a Glouster drug operation will appear in Athens County Common Pleas Court next month after a three-state investigation led to his arrest.
Brandon Jorge Allen, 29, of Detroit, Michigan, will enter his initial plea Aug. 11 after he is booked into the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, according to Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn.
Because Allen has already been indicted in common pleas court, his case will not appear in Athens County Municipal Court. Typically when an individual is arrested on felony charges prior to an indictment, they are arraigned in municipal court. If they are then indicted in common pleas court, the case is moved to that court and the municipal case is dismissed.
A 12-count indictment was filed against Allen on Friday alleging 10 counts of aggravated drug trafficking, one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and one count of aggravated possession of drugs.
Allen agreed not to fight extradition from Georgia, where he was arrested in an Atlanta airport after allegedly attempting to flee the country.
Investigators from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office traveled to three states, according to Blackburn, for what he called one of the largest investigations Athens County has ever conducted.
Still, as far as large investigations go for the office, Blackburn said it wasn’t an unexpectedly large expense. In total, Blackburn estimated the investigation into the drug ring has cost close to $100,000.
“This (investigation) didn’t cost above and beyond what other investigations have cost,” Blackburn said. “This cost maybe $9,000 to $10,000 more.”
This is not the first time Athens County investigators have crossed state lines to follow an investigation, Blackburn said. He cited at least one instance in which a robbery took them to Michigan, and said sometimes it’s necessary to go past the state boundaries to finish a case.
Though local investigators sacrifice time with families to travel to other states, Blackburn said officials in the other states they visited were accommodating.
“Prosecutors are striving to make our communities better, so when I called and asked for their help, they were extremely cooperative,” Blackburn said.
Locally, the alleged leader of the Glouster ring, Derek Gyure, was indicted in May on racketeering and drug trafficking charges, and is awaiting a trial scheduled for September.
Other members of the operation, including former Chauncey police chief and village marshal Charles Wachenschwanz and Kendra Sharrer, of Glouster, are also awaiting trial.
Gyure, Sharrer and Wachenschwanz also received superseding indictments in July. Gyure and Sharrer received additional charges in the superseding indictments, while Wachenschwanz’s count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity was changed from a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony.
Three members of the ring pleaded guilty to charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. Bert C. Sharrer received a 10-year sentence, John Casey Metcalf received an eight-year sentence, and Bert Sharrer, Jr., will be sentenced Aug. 25.
All three agreed to plea deals with the prosecution that require them to testify truthfully in proceedings regarding the drug ring cases.
Blackburn declined to comment on further investigation into the ring, including charges against two other men who he has named in court proceedings and documents related to the case. The men have not been officially charged or indicted in connection with the operation.