Probe pulls back curtain on drug culture

WARREN – Law enforcement officials began looking into the sale and distribution of drugs and weapons throughout the Warren and Trumbull County area in February 2012.

According to an indictment filed recently in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the co-conspirators developed an extensive network of buyers and sellers in Detroit and Warren, where most of the sales took place.

The leaders of the drug ring are identified as Valentino Thomas Sr., 41, of Detroit; Bret Jones, 30, of Bristolville; and Anthony L. Ector Jr., 29, of Warren.

Communication between the dealers was primarily done by using stolen cell phones, phones that belonged to others outside of the criminal network or obtained using false names.

They often communicated via text messages and by using using slang, street terminology and code words and phrases to disguise the meaning of their conversations:

Drug trade

Below are examples of what authorities claim were drug-related activities that took place over the past year. All of the people below have been charged with various crimes named in the indictment; none have yet had trials or have been found guilty. All dates are approximate:

March 2, 2012

Valentino Thomas Jr. spoke to a confidential informant (CI) on the telephone to make a drug sale:

CI: “Hey, is it cool to come out (to purchase heroin)?”

Thomas: “How much do you want?”

CI: A g (gram). “I have got $200.”

Thomas Jr.: “All right, call me when you get here.”

Later that day, Thomas Jr. sold the CI 2.5 grams of heroin.

March 15-28

Thomas Jr. and Derrick Peete sold varying amounts of heroin to confidential informants and undercover officers.

May 16

Toni Angelo sent a text to undercover officer 2 (UC-2), which read:

“What’s up girl? Just got something (heroin) from dude (Lewis C. Powell II). Wanna try it? It has some soda (cooked with baking soda), but (it) cooks back even bigger ‘n better.”

Later, Angelo texted: “The boy (heroin) is 550 ($550), that cool?”

When UC-2 balked at the price, Angelo responded: “U want it. I tried both. (It is) def good.”

Angelo later sent a text that said Powell agreed to sell the drugs for $500.

Angelo and Powell met UC-2 in Warren and sold 3.3 grams of heroin and 3.2 grams of crack.

May 18-31

Between May 18 and 30, Powell sold approximately 14.3 grams of heroin to UC-2. Quintus Sellers joined Powell when they sold another 13.2 grams to an informant.

Sellers, Anthony L. Ector Jr. and Bret Jones on May 31 sold 0.3 grams of heroin to undercover officer 1 (UC-1).

June 6-21

Ector Jr. and Jawan Thomas sold approximately 9.89 grams of heroin to UC-1.

Ector Jr. and Thomas each sold UC-1 15 grams and 14.7 grams of heroin, respectively, on June 13. On June 21, Ector Jr. and Brian Thomas each sold 15 grams and 14.6 grams of heroin to UC-1.

June 29-Aug. 2

Ector Jr. negotiated and / or sold about 56.3 grams of heroin to UC-1; Hosea Willis sold about 13.7 grams of heroin to UC-1.

Aug. 15

UC-1 called Ector about purchasing some heroin.

Ector: “It’s gonna be one-sixty ($160).”

About 7 p.m., UC-1 called saying he wanted to purchase the drugs and was told where to meet. A short time later, Willis, Brian Thomas and Sellers showed up to sell UC-1 15.4 grams of heroin.

Aug. 23

Ector sold 14.8 grams of heroin to UC-1.

Aug. 31-Oct. 3

Jones sold about 90.3 grams of heroin to UC-1. Ector Jr. negotiated a sale of 28 grams to UC-1.

Oct. 17

About 11:20 a.m., Ahmen McCollum called Ector Jr.

McCollum: “What’s good dog? I was trying to grab a half of one (amount of heroin).”

Ector: “Where you at?”

McCollum: “S**t, I’m on the east (side of Warren) right now.”

Ector: “Ah, go to like the Hair Depot and call me.”

McCollum: “The Garden?”

Ector: “Hair Depot.”

The next day, Sidney McMahan III called Ector Jr., complaining he had not been selling heroin because he was behind in paying his rent and other bills.

Oct. 20

About 5:20 p.m. Bryan Sennyk called Ector Jr. to complain about the quality of the heroin.

Sennyk: “You got anything chunky (heroin) man? Cause that stuff with the little white stuff, man, in, it’s f**king all my s**t (syringes) up … hello?”

They spoke over one another.

Sennyk: “All right, because that loose stuff (heroin) what it is doing is coagulating where you can’t draw it up (into a syringe). You know what I am saying? But give me a minute, I am running to my cousins.”

Oct. 26

About 4:15 p.m., Ector Jr. called McMahan III, asking if he had called him.

McMahan: “Yeah, I had my phone in my hand and I was trying to push my kid’s bike and I couldn’t get the bike out and I accidentally hit your number, but, uh, everything good, right?”

About 7:30 p.m., McMahan III arranged to meet Ector Jr. at the Econolodge Hotel for a drug purchase.

About 7:36 p.m., Stephanie McMahan called Ector Jr. They agreed to meet near a Youngstown Road restaurant for a drug transaction.

Oct 28

About 7:52 p.m., McMahan III, while talking to Ector Jr. on the phone said he had to hurry up and finish a meal at the Eastwood Mall so he could go to the Walmart parking lot to meet a couple heroin customers. He then arranged to meet with Ector Jr. back at the mall so he could purchase more heroin.

Nov. 18

About 2:20 p.m., Valerie Maddox called Ector Jr. about purchasing heroin.

Maddox: “Hey hon, ah, do you want me to go to the Family Dollar (to purchase heroin)?”

Ector: “Yeah.”

Maddox: “OK, I’ll call you when I get there.”

Ector: “All right, what (how much heroin) you want?”

Maddox: “I want a half (amount of heroin) please.”

Ector: “All right.”