PDT Staff Writer
Eighteen people have been indicted on federal drug charges. Nine of those people are from Portsmouth, eight from Dayton, and one from Lancaster, Ohio. They are charged with bringing in a kilogram of heroin into Scioto County every month since 2011. Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said the street value of a kilogram of heroin is estimated at $48,000.
A federal grand jury charged all 18 with engaging in a two-year conspiracy to deliver heroin from Dayton to Portsmouth where they distributed it out of seven Portsmouth locations including two motels.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Oakley presented the case to the grand jury, following an investigation by the FBI, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, the Portsmouth Police Department, the Ohio HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Task Force, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn.
Robert Garmany, aka “Black Rob”; Keith Goodwin, aka “Unc”; Daryl Smith, aka “Slim, June”; Josh Walls; Jerry Walls; Conna Mounts; Brandon Jackson; Jackie Tupper and Jeanette Jennings are all from the Scioto County area and are all charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin. It is a crime punishable by at least 10 years and up to live in prison.
Dayton residents charged include Shawn Shank, aka “Red” who is listed as the ringleader; Micheal Shank, aka “P.J., No No”; Stevie Parson, aka “Will”; Kendall Mabry, aka “Tweety Bird”; Aaron Knolton, aka “Lil No No, Youngin”; Vita Williams; Stephone McGhee and Porscha Smith. The lone Lancaster resident is Tara Loehner.
Shawn Shank, Kendall Mabry, Daryl Smith and Brandon Jackson remain at large.
“This actual arrest procedure started yesterday (Wednesday) in Dayton and continued this (Thursday) morning in Portsmouth,” Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said.
At a news conference held at the Scioto County Jail, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Carter Stewart, said other charges include possession with intent to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin and maintaining a place for the purpose of distributing heroin. Each of those crimes is punishable by probation and up to 20 years in prison.
“If convicted of any of these crimes, the defendants must also forfeit any proceeds from profit that they received from this conspiracy in addition to any prison sentence that they may receive,” Stewart said.
“Today’s charges send two messages,” Stewart said. “One - opiate addiction is still driving illegal activity throughout the region. Two - Law enforcement on the federal, state and local sides will continue to work to prosecute this crime. We will continue to work with the community to combat addiction which leads to crimes.”
The FBI said collaborative effort is key in enforcement.
“Those who attempt to engage in illegal activities will be met will be met with a united and collaborative law enforcement presence working everyday to maintain peace in our communities,” Kevin Cornelius, Special Agent in Charge of the Cincinnati office of the FBI, said.
Ware gave credit to the law enforcement officials who did the street work resulting in the indictments.
“The culmination of these events today lead directly back to the folks on the ground who did the grunt work,” Ware said. “The collaboration and cooperation over perhaps the last 18 months is what makes this possible.”
Captain David Hall of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office also commented on the boots on the ground.
“Without that officer out there doing the actual work, going after the drug trade, this is not possible,” Hall said. “Sheriff Donini is proud of the work done on the streets.”
Ware talked about the history of Scioto County’s involvement in illegal prescription drug trafficking.
“Working with the state and federal agencies and the HIDTA designation, working with the State Legislature, and the federal elected officials, we were able to rid our community of the pill mills,” Ware said. “Along with that comes the change of the craving of the addicted. You get rid of the pill mills, but there’s still the addiction. That pushed us to the heroin market. Today we took steps to dismantle a major component of the heroin trade in the Portsmouth area.”
Ware said tips from local residents is an invaluable part of combating illegal drug activity and thanked those who pass along information that helps the officers do their work.
Stewart said heroin distribution was being done from The Super 8 Motel on U.S. 23, The Royal Inn, on Kendall Avenue, 1825 Seventh St., 1821 Seventh St., 2025 Thomas Ave., Apt. A, 1424 Park St., and 2943 Walnut St., all in Portsmouth.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.