A grand jury in Columbus has charged seven individuals for their roles in a Steubenville-area heroin-trafficking operation.

Carter M. Stewart, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and William J. Ihlenfeld II, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia; Angela L. Byers, FBI special agent in charge; Joseph P. Reagan, Drug Enforcement Administration special agent in charge; Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane M. Hanlin; and members of the Jefferson County Drug Task Force and the Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force Tuesday announced the indictment returned on Oct. 20.

The yearlong investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement culminated in the seizure of eight firearms, three vehicles and approximately $110,000 of suspected narcotics proceeds.

According to court documents, investigators discovered the organization was responsible for street-level heroin sales in Steubenville, including in the Market Street apartment public housing area, and in Weirton, Wheeling and Bellaire.

Each of the following were charged with one count of conspiracy with intent to distribute more than 1 kilogram of heroin: Frederick A. McShan, 35, of Steubenville; Donae F. Grier, 37, of Irving, Texas; Christopher J. Bishop, 31, of Weirton; David McShan, 37, of Steubenville; Kerris D. Moncrease, 30, of Weirton; Terrence J. Smith, 26, of Steubenville; and Perrier D. Coleman, 19, of Steubenville.

Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1 kilogram of heroin is a federal crime punishable by 10 years to up to life in prison.

All of the defendants were scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday before U.S. District Chief Judge Edmund A. Sargus.

Stewart and Ihlenfeld also commended the cooperative efforts of law enforcement, as well as Michael Hunter, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force chief, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Vogrin and Hanlin, who was appointed as a special assistant U.S. attorney, who are prosecuting the case.

The arrests of the defendants were announced during a press conference in Wheeling on Sept. 24.

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.

Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty called the arrests “significant.”

“This investigation took a long time and certainly required the federal resources. The investigation required a lot of man-hours. The individuals are looking at 10 years to life and the federal officials are in the process of seizing their assets on a nationwide basis. This is one step in the local war on crime and it is a significant step,” McCafferty said.

Ihlenfeld 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.”

Published by the heraldstaronline.com