Fri. 10:20 a.m.: Seven charged in federal drug case

YOUNGSTOWN – A federal grand jury returned a 48-count indictment charging seven people for their roles in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin in the Warren and Youngstown areas.

Indicted are: Thomas I. Sledge, 38, of Youngstown; Preston D. Sims Jr., 33, of Akron; Levar A. Johnson; 41; Khalef K. Freeman, 37; James A. Lipscomb, 40; Christopher L. Williams, 39, and Lajuna R. Brown, 30, all of Warren, with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and heroin, according to information released by the U.S. District Court of Northern Ohio.

The indictment alleges the defendants conspired to distribute cocaine and heroin in the Warren and Youngstown areas between September 2017 through June 2018.

Sims allegedly supplied heroin to Sledge, who in turn supplied it to Johnson, Freeman, Lipscomb, Williams and Brown for distribution in Youngstown and Warren, according to the indictment.

Sledge obtained cocaine from a source and supplied it to Freeman for distribution in Warren and Youngstown, according to the indictment

The indictment further alleges Sledge distributed cocaine in the fall of 2017.

The indictment also alleges Sledge, Sims, Johnson, Freeman, Lipscomb, Williams and Brown used a communication facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime between January and March 2018.

“These defendants are charged with seeking to profit from the drug epidemic that has plagued all of Ohio and hit the Mahoning Valley particularly hard,” U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman said. “We will seek long prison sentences for people who bring cocaine, heroin, and other illicit drugs into our neighborhoods.”

The investigation was handled by Drug Enforcement Administration and Warren Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David M. Toepfer.

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