Multiple law enforcement agencies from both sides of the Ohio River took a huge bite out of a heroin trafficking ring spreading from the Ohio Valley to Chicago.
Several state, county and municipal law enforcement officers joined U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld in Wheeling on Thursday to announce the arrests of seven people from Ohio and West Virginia who are charged in federal court in connection with a drug trafficking operation that caused large quantities of heroin to be transported from Chicago to the Ohio Valley.
Ihlenfeld said talks between him and U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart of Southern District of Ohio resulted in a decision to prosecute the initial cases in West Virginia.
Authorities arrested Frederick Allen McShan, 35, of Steubenville, who they say led an extensive, multi-state drug trafficking operation through which large quantities of heroin were transported from Chicago into Northern West Virginia and Southern Ohio for redistribution and sale.
Ihlenfeld said McShan coordinated a network of individuals to transport and distribute the drugs, including Perrier Duvall Coleman, 19; David McShan, 37; Donae F. Grier, 37; Terrence Lamont Smith, 26, all of Steubenville, along with Christopher Joshua Bishop, 31, and Kerris Deuntay Moncreace, 30, both of Weirton.
He said the investigation involved the use of sophisticated surveillance techniques, undercover operations and the execution of multiple federal search warrants, including the search of a business in Bellaire that was allegedly operated by one of the defendants.
"Proceeds from the illegal drug transactions were used to purchase a variety of luxury items including vehicles and real estate," Ihlenfeld said. "A large portion of those assets have been seized as part of the investigation."
The defendants will be prosecuted in federal courts in either the Southern District of Ohio or the Northern District of West Virginia.
Each of the defendants is presently charged by federal criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin.
"This is the first round of charges designed to get these people into custody," he said. "More charges will be added as the investigation continues."
Ihlenfeld said the defendants face between 10 years and life in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.
Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.