Fourteen Charged in Steubenville Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

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An ongoing investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement in Steubenville and Jefferson County, Ohio has led to the indictment of six people on federal drug trafficking and gun charges that are punishable by at least 15 years in prison. Eight others have been charged by a Jefferson County grand jury. 

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Kevin R. Cornelius, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane M. Hanlin, Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla and Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty announced the charges today following early morning efforts to arrest and locate the defendants.

Named in the federal indictment are:

        Kinlawyed Hendrix, aka “Lo”, 27, Steubenville

        Calvin D. Bryant Jr., aka “Gunz”, 26, Canton, Ohio

        Robert L. Simmons Jr., aka “Chase”, 19, Steubenville

        Jessie O. Birden, aka “J-Money”, 21, Steubenville

        Berryon F. Moore, III, aka “Pumpkin”, 25, Steubenville

        Joseph L. Dennis, 30, aka “JD” Toronto, Ohio

The federal indictment charges the six defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin, a crime punishable by at least ten years and up to life in prison. The indictment also charges all defendants except Dennis with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime. Hendrix is charged with two gun counts. That crime carries a punishment of at least five years and up to 40 years in prison, served consecutive to any time served for the heroin trafficking.

“The federal indictment is a result of an ongoing investigation into heroin trafficking and the related gun violence in the Ohio Valley,” U.S. Attorney Stewart said. “We will continue with a regional approach to investigate the sources of the illegal drugs and guns.”

“These indictments are the result of great cooperation between local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies dedicated to making this community a better place in which to live,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Kevin Cornelius.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane M. Hanlin stated, “This investigation is a primary example of the success that can be achieved through cooperation between local and federal law enforcement. These arrests mark a significant turning point in our ongoing battle against the heroin trade in our area.”

All federal defendants will appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Columbus who will determine whether or not to hold them without bond until trial.

In addition to those charged federally, Jefferson County Prosecutor Hanlin announced that a Jefferson County grand jury indicted the following individuals:

        Lavinia Hearon, 29, Chicago              Tampering with Evidence

        Jacari Benson, 30, Weirton, WV           Trafficking in Heroin

        Frederick L. McGowan, 39, Madison WI     Possession of Heroin, Possession of Cocaine

        Robert Jackson, 32, Steubenville                 Trafficking in Heroin (Two Counts) (Forfeiture:  $1,669)

        Harry E. Stackhouse, 25, Steubenville    Trafficking in Heroin (Two Counts)

        Rashann D. Mukes, 28, Steubenville       Trafficking in Heroin in the presence of a Juvenile

                                                        (Gun specifications) (Forfeiture of $6716)

        Kyle M. Irvin, 29, Chicago                Trafficking in Heroin (Forfeiture:  $10,723)

        Charles Henry Thompson, 24, Chicago      Trafficking in Heroin (Forfeiture: $10,010)

                                                        Having a Weapon Under Disability (Two counts)

Officials allege that this drug organization transported more than 23 kilograms of heroin from Chicago for distribution in the Steubenville area over a two-year period.

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the Jefferson County Drug Task Force, whose members include the DEA in addition to the agencies named above, and the assistance of the Ohio State Highway Patrol in the investigation. The U.S. Marshals Service participated in the arrests. U.S. Attorney Stewart also acknowledged the assistance of the Brooke-Hancock-Weirton Drug Task Force in West Virginia, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Hunter, who is prosecuting the case.

Charges contained in a complaint are allegations. All defendants should be presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Information provided by the United States Attorney Carter M. Stewart – Southern District of Ohio