CINCINNATI - A man connected to a local drug trafficking organization turned himself into Cincinnati police after being contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
Antonio Montgomery, one of 20 people linked to a Cincinnati-based heroin and crack cocaine ring, turned himself over to District One at approximately 3 p.m. Friday, according to an FBI official.
An FBI-led investigation linked Montgomery and 19 others to the ring following a 13-month investigation, resulting in the execution of search warrants at 10 locations throughout the city Friday morning. Authorities declined to disclose what items or drugs they may have confiscated as part of the investigation. They also did not discuss what evidence they have to charge the group, all of whom are from the local area.
Authorities arrested 16 people during raids and indicted 18 in federal court. Criminal complaints have been filed against two others, Mario Raphael Harris and Tanya M. Jackson, suspected to be involved in the organization. Authorities are still seeking the public's help in locating three suspects who remain at large.
They are Eric Brock, aka "E" or "Big Head E," Casey Brock, and Eric Gunn, aka "Rambo" or "Bo."
Those indicted include:
Shantez Rembert, 21; Frederick Benton III, 35; David McPherson, 38; Casey Brock, 28; Eric Gunn, 21; Ralph Evans, 21; Dwayne Finnerson, 30; Sholanda Rembert, 25; Martha Clark, 19; Demico Higgins, 32; Brien Champion, 29; Eric Brock, 31; Antonio Montgomery, 27; Frederick Baskin, 50; Damian Finnerson, 23; Yolanda Rembert, 42; Shawniece Grant-Cavins, 21; and McKinley Barnwell, 60.
The suspects have been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, a crime punishable by at least 10 years and up to life in prison.
The organization, known as the "Black Money Bloods," was the target of the investigation by the FBI Cincinnati Safe Streets Task Force. The indictment, filed Feb. 20 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, alleges some of the individuals within the organization were trafficking drugs near playgrounds and schools.
On at least five occasions, members of the organization conducted drug-trafficking activities within 1,000 feet of the Spring Street playground, the McMicken play area, the Findlay playground and the Dater Montessori School, according to the indictment.
Although most of the group's activity was localized to the East Clifton Avenue area in Over-the-Rhine, the indictment indicates the organization's reach included the neighborhoods of Price Hill and Avondale.
Authorities said their intention was to target high-level, wholesale dealers, rather than focus on low-level street rips. All of those named in the indictment are from Cincinnati. Agents did not specify the quantity of heroin or crack cocaine the group was pushing.
"We had all the subjects we wanted to get wrapped up in this," Hanko said. "If we went out any further, we would reach street-level buyers and we didn't want to get that diluted."
Federal and local authorities jointly executed search warrants at 10 locations, including 64 East Clifton Ave in Over-the-Rhine and 520 Prospect Place in Avondale – at approximately 6 a.m., said Edward Hanko, special agent in charge for the FBI Cincinnati field office.
Hanko said the search warrants were conducted peacefully.
"We took out 16 members of a pretty large-scale drug operation," Hanko said. "All the customers who were coming to this group will not be served."
The suspects are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman in U.S. District Court on Monday.
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