CINCINNATI — A federal judge sentenced a Cincinnati woman known as "Ice Queen" Thursday to 20 years in prison for leading a drug trafficking organization that imported methamphetamine from Mexico and distributed it in the Tri-State.
Stacey Howell, 42, and her husband, 45-year-old Thomas Wilson, aka Michalo, acquired drugs from sources in Mexico, according to court documents. Wilson was an associate of criminal groups in Mexico, and Howell arranged for large quantities of meth to be delivered from Mexico to Texas, Georgia and elsewhere, the court documents state.
Howell, Wilson or another member of their organization would then pick uyp the drugs and bring them back to the Tri-State for distribution, according to court documents. Authorities said Howell paid members of the organization with cash, green dot cards, memorabilia or vehicles.
A grand jury indicted 16 people, including Howell, with conspiracy and drug trafficking in 2015. She pleaded guilty in March 2018.
U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman said eight of the defendants have been sentenced so far, receiving sentenced ranging from one to 20 years behind bars.
"The severity of the sentences reflects the reach of the organization and the destructive impact drug trafficking organizations have on our region," Glassman said. "Whether opioids, meth or other stimulants, we need to maintain the highest levels of vigilance about the foreign and domestic threat of illegal drugs."
Last year, Wilson was also sentenced to 20 years in prison. Another leader of the group, 54-year-old Norman Kuhbander, aka Flacco and Stormin Norman, pleaded guilty and was sentenced last year to 15 years in prison. Authorities said Kuhbander forfeited 10 firearms, three compound bows, a kevlar armor vest and assorted ammunition.
Steve Francis, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations, said the government agency "is committed to eliminating criminal enterprises that peddle poison to the streets of Ohio."
"Joint investigations such as this disrupt and dismantle international drug trafficking operations from top to bottom and have an immediate positive impact on the community," he said.