Twenty indicted in connection with drug trafficking organization


Staff report



YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains, and members of the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force announced that 20 suspects are now facing charges in connection with a drug trafficking organization that operated in the Mahoning Valley.

The 74-count indictment follows an investigation led by the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force’s Drug Unit with assistance from Attorney General DeWine’s Heroin Unit.

Prosecutors with Attorney General DeWine’s Special Prosecutions Section and Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office presented the case to a Mahoning County grand jury last week, and members of the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force’s Drug Unit served arrest warrants in connection with the case today.

Of those charged, six of the suspects, identified by investigators as the high-level traffickers who operated the group, are accused of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity relating to the sale of heroin and/or marijuana.

According to the investigation, members of the drug trafficking ring were responsible for putting large amounts of heroin and marijuana onto the streets of the Mahoning Valley between April 2015 and August 2016. The drugs came into Ohio from other states such as Michigan, California, and Arizona. In some cases, large deliveries of drugs were shipped in the mail from out-of-state suppliers to the homes of several members of the group. The drugs were then divided by the high-level traffickers and sold to lower-level traffickers, who would then sell the drugs on the streets.

Two California men who are accused of attempting to traffic heroin into the Youngstown area are also among those charged.

“This investigation found that several of the main players in this group were making thousands of dollars off of every pound of marijuana they sold, and in some cases, that money would then go to pay for heroin. It’s a vicious cycle,” said Attorney General DeWine. “State and local authorities are committed to taking down the big players in these trafficking organizations, which is exactly what we did here today.”

“Today’s arrests are the result of a lengthy investigation by officers of the Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which used a multitude of conventional investigative techniques,” said Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force Detective Greg Wilson.

The suspects listed below are charged in the indictment: Edward Blackmon, 38, Youngstown; Randy Beausoliel, 38, Studio City, California; Jonathan Centeno, 31, Campbell; Yeashelley Centeno, 32, Youngstown; Coleman Cooper, 34, Youngstown; Kory Jackson, 29, Youngstown; James Jones, 31, Campbell; Telia Lawson, 38, Youngstown; Abraham Garcia Magana, 44, Homeland, California; Terrell Martin, 36, Youngstown; Wayne Martin, 35, Youngstown; Edward McElroy, 31, Youngstown; Sumya McElroy, 32, Youngstown; Aaron McGuire, 30, Youngstown; James Moody, 32, Youngstown; EC Robinson, 31, Youngstown; Kenneth Sharpe, 38, Youngstown; Chris Simmons, 40, Youngstown; Jose Suarez, 36, Youngstown; and Martwan Treharn, 24, Youngstown.

Charges listed in the indictment include engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in heroin, attempted trafficking in heroin, trafficking in marijuana, attempted trafficking in marijuana, complicity to trafficking in marijuana, aggravated trafficking in drugs, permitting drug abuse, having weapons under disability, possession of marijuana, and possession of drugs.

The Mahoning Valley Law Enforcement Task Force is made up of authorities from the Austintown Township Police Department, Canfield Township Police Department, Poland Township Police Department, Adult Parole Authority, Beaver Township Police Department, Boardman Township Police Department, Campbell Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Hubbard Police Department, Liberty Township Police Department, Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Center, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office, Springfield Township Police Department, Struthers Police Department, Youngstown Police Department, and Youngstown State University Police Department.

Authorities with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program, U.S. Marshals Service, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service also assisted in the investigation.

Attorney General DeWine created the Heroin Unit in 2013 after information gathered by the Attorney General’s Office revealed an increasing rate of heroin overdose deaths across the state. The unit assists local authorities in investigating and prosecuting high-level drug traffickers and is made up of authorities from the Attorney General’s Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Special Prosecutions Section, and Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission. The unit also includes education and outreach specialists from the Attorney General’s Office as well.

Staff report