Mahoning County prosecutors believe they have been able to break up a suspected drug ring in the area they claim is responsible for a lot of violence in the city.
A new 29-count indictment was handed up Thursday, charging six people in connection with four murders, a number of other shootings, as well as arson, drug trafficking and state racketeering charges.
Those charged include:
The group is charged with four counts of aggravated murder; eight counts of having weapons while under disability; five counts of attempted murder; five counts of felonious assault; one count of heroin possession; one count of trafficking in heroin; two counts of improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation; one count of aggravated arson; one count of arson; and one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
Prosecutors say control of the local heroin trade was involved in several murders the group is accused of committing.
Colvin was sentenced to 11 years in prison in March 2013 following a lengthy investigation into his drug ring. At the time, prosecutors said Austin committed the murders of Ryan K. Slade, 20, and Keara McCullough, 19, at Colvin’s request.
Colvin, Austin, and Henderson were indicted in April 2013 for killing Adam Christian, 23, and Raymond Hayes, 20, on Nov. 13, 2013 and Nov. 15, 2013 respectively. Both Christian and Hayes were killed and left in fields on the city’s East Side. Christian was found dead in a field in the 1400 block of Woodcrest Avenue.
Hayes was found three days later by a motorist on Gerwig Avenue and Knapp Street.
During Colvin’s sentencing hearing in the drug trafficking case, St. Dominic Pastor Fr. Greg Maturi said Colvin gave information that ultimately helped investigators find who killed 80-year-old Angeline Fimognari. Police originally charged Jamar Houser, who was eventually cleared.
Police said they found Duane Colvin, 32, killed Fimognari during a robbery attempt after they exhumed his body and matched a handprint found by investigators. Duane Colvin was fatally shot Sept. 24. His body was found in a field on Ferndale Avenue and the murder is unsolved.
Baker was charged with complicity to attempted murder in a May 2014 shooting on Imperial Street.
“So they were not just random acts of violence, and that is part of what the “engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity is all about. Hopefully, we are going to be able to convict these people and they will be gone for the rest of their lives if they are convicted,” Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul Gains said.
A number of the suspects already are in prison for other crimes. Gains said they will eventually all be brought back to Youngstown to answer these new charges..