Top drug raid suspect turns himself in
WARREN The second of three suspects named at the top of three separate federal indictments involving alleged drug distribution conspiracies turned himself in to city police Monday morning.
Valentino Thomas Sr., 41, of Detroit, who is facing three counts of distributing 58 grams of heroin to undercover agents in Warren, turned himself over to officers at the Warren police station.
He was was ordered to be detained after pleading not guilty at an arraignment Monday afternoon in U.S. Northern District Court in Cleveland.
Thomas is named at the top of an alleged conspiracy involving at least 20 other people including his son, Valentino Thomas Jr., 22, of Warren, who was arrested last week in Warren.
The elder Thomas is listed in the indictment as a Detroit resident although local police and court records also list a Warren address for him.
The indictment states that Thomas Sr. and Derrick “Rizzi” Peete, 22, who is at the Trumbull County Jail facing an aggravated murder charge, obtained drugs in the Detroit area and elsewhere and sold them to Anthony L. Ector, 29, of Warren, to distribute to 18 street dealers, including Valentino Thomas Jr., who sold the drugs in Warren.
The recent indictment charges Peete with three counts of heroin distribution, the use of a phone in the commission of a felony, and possession with intent to distribute heroin, crack cocaine and cocaine. Peete is waiting to stand trial in the Nov. 11 shooting death of Marco Dukes Sr., 32, of Warren. Dukes, who had a long criminal history, died in a downtown shootout with Peete, according to police. Dukes’ cousin, Larry Smith, 29, of Warren, was wounded.
More than 80 of the 97 people named in state and federal indictments that were unsealed last Wednesday as part of “Operation: Little D-Town” have been arrested, turned themselves in, or like Peete, are already behind bars in connection to other cases.
Marcus Hemmingway, 36, of Warren, named at the top of a separate indictment, was also in custody last week. However, Jamie Hancock, 27, of Dayton, at the top of a third indictment, remains at large, officials said.
Officials identified the suspects as career criminals. They said the indictments came after a yearlong investigation.
Mike Tobin, a spokesman with the U.S. Attorneys Office, said last week that Warren was identified as a target area for a collaborative effort among various local, state and federal law enforcement agencies because of its strapped resources and crime problems. He, along with other officials, said working to break crime pipelines between Detroit and Warren is a vital step.