Feds nab 17 for drugs

Seventeen men, most of them local, were indicted by a federal grand jury for the parts investigators say they played in a conspiracy to sell drugs in Youngstown, Akron and Columbus.

Unsealed Tuesday, the indictment details a distribution network of people with a 40-year-old man from Youngstown, accused in an April 2012 federal indictment of distributing the drugs in the three cities, at the top.

Terrance A. Tarver has pleaded guilty, but sentencing has been postponed indefinitely because he is cooperating with federal authorities in other criminal matters, according to court documents.

Tarver was not charged in Tuesday’s 57-count indictment.

Count one of the indictment charges all 17 men with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

The men charged from Youngstown are Leroy M. Hammonds, 41; Ronald O. Clark, 47; Phillip D. Whitman, 37; Darryl C. Pippin, 43; Abdul W. Muhammad, 41; Clifton T. Hudson, 40; Dwayne A. Oliver, 42; Edthaniel L. Tarver, 37; Brandon M. Williams, 20; and Patrick D. McWhorter, 21.

The others charged are Benjamin J. Phillips, Cheraw, S.C., 36; Gerard B. Balbirsingh, Farrell, Pa., 45; Edward Odem III, Sharon, Pa., 34; Antjuan A. Adkins, Akron, 37; Anthony J. Walker, Tempe, Ariz., 36; Dontae R. Lackey, Columbus, 35; and Quay L. Watkins, Akron, 35.

Phillips, Muhammad, Williams and McWhorter also face charges of maintaining a premises for purposes of distributing and using controlled substances.

The indictment also contains 52 counts of using a telephone to facilitate drug trafficking.

”This group represents another layer of people who sold drugs throughout the region,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for northern Ohio. ”They profited from other people’s addictions.”

In custody are Hammonds, Clark, Balbirsingh, Odem, Pippin, Oliver, Adkins, Lackey and Williams, according to U.S. Attorney’s Office for Northern Ohio.