Many suspects back on street

WARREN – The majority of people arraigned this week on various state charges as part of “Operation: Little D-Town” were back on the streets by Friday.

By the end of business on Friday, at least 81 of the 97 individuals indicted on various state and federal charges had been apprehended, had turned themselves in or were already in custody in connection with other cases.

Officials confirmed many of the people charged federally were already rounded up on Wednesday, taken to the Trumbull County Jail where they were questioned and then transported to various federal facilities around the state. However, two of the three suspects named at the top of federal indictments involving alleged conspiracies remained at large on Friday, confirmed Dave Coulson, a spokesman with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Marcus Hemmingway, 36, of Warren, has been apprehended and was in custody at a federal facility. He is named in a 26-count indictment.

However, as of Friday, Valentino Thomas Sr., 41, of Detroit, named at the top of a 99-count indictment, and Jamie Hancock, of Dayton, at the top of a 49-count indictment, remained at large.

Officials said they were expecting Hancock to turn himself him.

“The list is getting shorter,” Coulson said. “It’s ongoing, but a lot of progress has been made already.”

Meanwhile, as of Friday, 32 people wanted on state charges had been arraigned. Of those, at least 27 had bonded out.

Officials said they expected more people to turn themselves in. No one else was scheduled to be arraigned this week.

Although it might appear the roundup effort was winding down by Friday, officials planned to remain diligent in apprehending any suspects that are still unaccounted for.

“It’s an ongoing effort,” Lt. Jeff Orr, project director of the Trumbull Ashtabula Group Law Enforcement Task Force, said. “It’s important for everyone to know and to realize that just because they don’t see the amount of force, the number of agents out in Warren that they saw this past week rounding these suspects up doesn’t mean we’ve stopped.”

On Wednesday, 19 federal indictments were unsealed charging 55 people with various violations of federal narcotics and weapons charges in Warren and the surrounding area. At the same time, 42 people were charged in state court.

Close to 200 federal and local law enforcement agents swarmed the area this week to round up as many of the suspects as possible. Officials said simultaneous roundups related to the case were taking place in other cities including Detroit, Dayton and Pittsburgh.

Law enforcement is calling the sweep one of its biggest crime busts in local history. Officials said it is part of a targeted effort to bust the crime pipelines from Detroit to Warren. Officials have attributed many violent crimes over the years to that connection, which they said dates back decades.

The indictments came after a yearlong undercover investigation that officials said targeted numerous drug-trafficking organizations in Warren, Youngstown and surrounding areas.

Officials called many of the individuals career criminals. Several of them have ties both Warren and Detroit, officials said.