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60 indicted in massive drug and gun sting operation

CLEVELAND - Twenty-six people were indicted in federal court on firearms and drug trafficking charges following a year-long undercover sting operation centered in Mansfield, Ohio.

The joint operation, led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) - with the participation of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) - targeted convicted felons who traffic firearms and drugs.

The investigation focused on the unlawful sale and possession of firearms, the use of firearms in narcotics trafficking and the distribution of drugs in and around the Mansfield-area.

In a related effort, 34 people were indicted on state drug trafficking charges.

The investigation resulted in the seizure of:

  • Hundreds of rounds of ammunition;
  • 70 firearms;
  • 1,316 grams of cocaine;
  • 768 grams of crack cocaine;
  • 1,099 Oxycodone pills;
  • 215 ecstasy pills;
  • 199 Vicodin pills;
  • Five grams of heroin; and
  • 36 pills of Alprazolam.

"This undercover operation was strategically targeted at felons and violent criminals who flooded Mansfield with prescription drugs, illegal narcotics and illegal firearms," said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Ohio. "This investigation will shut off a significant pipeline of illegal firearms and drugs."

"Thwarting today's criminal organizations requires the collective expertise, diverse statutory authorities, and jurisdiction of many agencies and departments," said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI for Ohio and Michigan. "This case is a perfect example of the power of collaboration and its impact on public safety here in Ohio."

The indictments included 121 separate criminal charges. They were returned Aug. 24, but only unsealed this morning when federal and local agents arrested the suspects.

The cases are grouped as 12 separate indictments. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly L. Galvin and Carol M. Skutnik.

The investigation is being conducted by: the ATF, HSI, U.S. Marshals Service, Richland County Sheriff's Office, Ashland County Sheriff's Office, Ravenna Police Department and the Ohio Adult Parole Authority.