A federal indictment was issued Thursday for nine people who allegedly brought in large amounts of fentanyl and carfentanil in from China and sold it in Akron and Lorain.
Authorities say the ringleaders of the group—husband and wife Donte (39) and Audrey Gibson (34)—purchased the drugs over the internet and had them shipped to locations in the Akron-Canton area. They then directed others to obtain the substances at various post offices in the area before cutting it and distributing it for sale. One of the dealers is alleged to be Donte Gibson's 21-year-old Dontaysha.
The Gibson's originally stored the drugs at their home on Popham St. before their young daughter overdosed on fentanyl, prompting them to later store them in various units in the region, along with cash.
Along with the Gibsons, others named in the indictment include:
- Derrick A. Adams II (22) - Akron
- Lisa A. Richardson (54) - Akron
- Lori E. Martin (57) - Barberton (Audrey Gibson's mother)
- Ajarae C. Hisle (27) - Lorain
- Jamar J. Jackson (28) - Lorain
- Garrett R. Frantz (20) - North Canton
All nine are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 400 grams of drugs between May 2016 and February 2018.
"This is an important victory for the citizens of Northern Ohio," IRS Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Korner said. "These defendants not only fueled the Opioid drug problem in Northern Ohio, but they supported addiction in several parts of the country."
In addition two the drug charges, Gibson, Richardson, and Martin are also accused of conspiracy to launder money after allegedly creating fake companies to hide their drug profits, which were then spent on various luxury items from brands like Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. Prosecutors are now seeking more than $280,000 in cash and the forfeiture of the Gibsons' home.
“This case demonstrates the lengths drug dealers will go to in order to obtain deadly drugs to feed the addiction of their customers,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony said. “This group flaunted their lucrative drug trafficking organization proceeds by purchasing homes, cars and other items in an attempt to hide their cash.
Donte and Audrey Gibson are also charged with illegally possessing firearms and ammunition. Both have previous heroin trafficking convictions, as well as respective convictions of assault and robbery.
Akron Police Chief Kenneth Ball said in a statement:
I feel a strong sense of relief knowing that a group of criminals that had a major role in the city's battle against drugs, and the companion, devastating effects of addiction, will be held accountable. I am proud of the work of Akron's team and our partners with the Safe Streets Task Force. Gibson and his conspirators have been justly charged, they now need to be justly tried and sentenced.
The Akron Police Department assisted federal authorities in the investigation. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Bennett.