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Cops and Courts

Four county residents among 20 indicted in federal drug sweep


Four Lorain County residents are among 20 people recently indicted by a federal grand jury for their alleged roles in a conspiracy to obtain large amounts of heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues and sell the drugs to customers on the west side of Cleveland, as well as firearms charges.

Named in the 27-count indictment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, were Sheffield Lake residents Alquin Wells, 37, and Ronelle Davis, 28, and Sheffield Village resident Imani Nicholson, 23.

DeMarco Clayton, 24, also of Sheffield Lake, also faces firearms and drug charges for allegedly possessing heroin, a revolver and ammunition April 3. Clayton is forbidden from having firearms or ammunition because of numerous previous convictions, according to the indictment.

Wells, Travon Gales, 24, of Maple Heights, and Malcolm Collins, 46, of Cleveland, also were indicted on firearms charges, while Davis and Nicholson also were indicted for conspiracy to launder money, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

All 20 defendants are facing one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The conspiracy took place between September 2017 and April this year, according to the indictment.

Federal prosecutors are looking to seize six firearms and more than $44,000 in alleged illegal drug profits as part of their investigation.

“This group is accused of selling deadly drugs, illegally carrying firearms, laundering their drug profits and contributing to this scourge that has killed thousands of Ohioans,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said.

According to the indictment, Wells and Davis obtained ounce quantities of heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues that they sold to other dealers and customers in Cleveland — specifically, to Collins, Gales and Lashaun Moncrief, 36, of Cleveland.

Wells, Davis, Collins and Gales also sold heroin and fentanyl to 13 other defendants, who then resold it to others, according to the indictment. Wells, Gales and others also carried firearms to protect themselves, their drugs and their drug proceeds and used Davis’ Sheffield Lake residence to store the drugs, process heroin and fentanyl and store their drug proceeds, according to the indictment.

Wells met with customers on “numerous occasions” in the parking lots of fast food restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations and other stores to make hand-to-hand drug deals, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Wells was shot three times during a suspected home invasion on Nov. 10, 2017, and two unidentified men took Wells’ gold Range Rover, which later was found burned on East 32nd Street in Cleveland, according to the indictment.

Other suspects sold mixtures of heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogues to a person in March that caused a nonfatal overdose, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The case was investigated by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force, comprised of investigators from the FBI; Drug Enforcement Administration; IRS; Customs and Border Patrol; the Cleveland, Euclid, Lakewood, Westlake, Moreland Hills, and Regional Transit Authority police departments; the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority; the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office; the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation; and the Ohio Adult Parole Authority.

This case also is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, a program established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multilevel attacks on major drug trafficking, money laundering and violent criminal organizations operating domestically and internationally, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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