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Drug conspiracy cases proceed in federal court

YOUNGSTOWN — The case involving nine people charged last summer in a 57-count indictment concerning a drug-trafficking operation in the Youngstown area is moving through U.S. Northern Ohio District Court.

Sentencing and plea hearings plus final pretrial hearings are set for February and March in the case, according to the federal court’s docket.

Named in the indictment are Korey K. Moody, 36; Cedrick Sanders, 42; Matthew J. Spain, 28; Michael N. Childs Jr., 35; Dewayne A. McCullough, 35; Lamar E. Knox, 31; George V. Barnette, 37; and Ghalayah L. LaBooth, 42, all with Youngstown addresses; and Lawrence K. McBride, 50, of Salem.

Childs is expected to change his plea on a drug conspiracy charge at a hearing set for Feb 28 before U.S. Judge Donald C. Nugent, while McCullough, LaBooth and McBride are headed for March 22 final pretrial hearings. McCullough, LaBooth and McBride appeared via video in mid-January before Nugent. The three are charged with one count of conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, fentanyl, fentanyl compounds and methamphetamine. Their attorneys told the judge they have been having problems talking to their clients in jail because of COVID-19 conditions there.

The other five have either pleaded guilty or have been sentenced in the case.

• Moody, with an Orlo Lane address, pleaded guilty Nov. 5, 2021, to one charge of conspiracy with intent to possess and distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and fentanyl. Moody, the reputed ringleader of the gang, is set for Feb. 25 sentencing by Nugent.

• Sanders pleaded guilty Nov. 19, 2021, to one count of conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, fentanyl, fentanyl compounds and methamphetamine and one count of distributing heroin and fentanyl. Sentencing for Sanders is set before Nugent on March 14.

• Court records also show Spain, of Ridge Avenue, pleaded guilty Nov. 2, 2021, to the conspiracy count and also to a charge of distribution of heroin and fentanyl. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 1.

• Knox, also known as “Mar Mar,” appeared Dec. 10, 2021, before Nugent and pleaded guilty to the one drug conspiracy charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced March 31 after undergoing a background investigation.

• Barnette was sentenced Dec. 1, 2021, by Nugent to five months in a federal prison. He also was ordered to be on a supervised release for three years. Records show Barnette pleaded guilty Sept. 9 to a drug conspiracy count with five counts of use of a communication facility in drug trafficking dismissed.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, the remaining defendants had been charged with various counts of use of a communication facility in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, maintaining a drug premises, distribution of heroin and fentanyl, distribution of fentanyl, distribution of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine base, possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl and acetyl fentanyl, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

According to the indictment, from February to December 2019, Moody is accused of supplying heroin and cocaine to Sanders, Spain, LaBooth and Childs for distribution in the Youngstown area. In turn, it is alleged that Spain and Childs supplied cocaine to McCullough, Barnette, Knox and McBride for redistribution in the areas around Youngstown. The defendants allegedly used cellphones and code words, such as “vick,” “onion” and “zipper,” to conduct and conceal their activities.

Moody also is accused of maintaining a drug house on Delason Avenue on the South Side of Youngstown.

All defendants remain in federal custody, court records show.

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