More than 50 people have been indicted on federal charges as a result of a three-year investigation to identify traffickers behind a rising tide of heroin, fentanyl and other drugs on the streets of Manhattan, according to U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister.
“Fentanyl and heroin are a deadly combination,” McAllister said. “Our goal is to save lives by disrupting the pipelines bringing these and other poisons to the city Manhattan.”
The Junction City Police Department and the Geary County Sheriff's Office both took part in the investigation.
Federal indictments filed last week and kept under seal until now allege that 18-year-old Kansas State student Maxwell F. Dandaneu was found dead Sept. 26, 2017, in his off-campus apartment from an overdose caused by fentanyl. An indictment alleges Dandaneu received the drugs from a drug trafficking group consisting of five conspirators who are among 54 defendants whose names appear in one of 13 grand jury indictments.
Defendants Henry Clark, Sylvester Calvert, Michael Calvert, James Toliver, and Blake Woodard are charged with conspiring to distribute fentanyl and heroin resulting in Dandaneu’s overdose death, as well as other charges. Woodward is charged with directly distributing the fentanyl to Dandaneu that led to the fatal overdose.
In addition to heroin and fentanyl, traffickers have also been accused of distributing other drugs including ecstasy, marijuana, methamphetamine and hydrocodone.
The indictments include charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances resulting in bodily injury or death, distributing controlled substances resulting in bodily harm or death, conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, unlawful possession of a firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, maintaining a drug involved premise, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm, using Facebook Messenger in furtherance of drug trafficking and removal of property to avoid seizure.
Law enforcement officers named the investigation Operation Chicago Connection, based on the fact that in 2016 investigators started hearing talk on the streets of this college town about traffickers who some sources called “the Chicago Boys.” In the following months, investigators worked to get a clearer picture of what was happening. They discovered how some traffickers were making regular trips to Chicago to bring back heroin, fentanyl and other drugs.
Law enforcement officers were out in force Tuesday, serving arrest warrants and search warrants in Manhattan as part of a federal takedown that was one of the largest in state history. Defendants were scheduled to begin making initial appearances in federal court in Topeka today.
The following defendants were charged:
Indictment No. 1 (Nine defendants, conspiracy, overdose death, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana, $30,000 forfeiture)
Henry Clark, 42
Sylvester Calvert, Jr., 31, Manhattan
Michael Clavert, 28, Manhattan
James Toliver, 39, Manhattan
Blake Woodward, 23
Kimberly Obrecht, 33
Robert Houston, Sr., 39
Prianna Baggett, 24, Manhattan
Jeremy Richmond, 27
Indictment No. 2 (Five defendants, heroin, fentanyl, firearms, $30,000 forfeiture)
Kevin Henderson, 48, Topeka
Kenneth Shorter, 57, Manhattan
Wayne Ingram, 24
Quinton Shorter, 65, Manhattan
Shirley Moton, 60, Manhattan
Indictment No. 3 (21 defendants, methamphetamine, heroin firearms, $50,000 forfeiture)
Dontae Patterson, 39
Michael Walker, Jr.,26
Joseph Hammond, 48, Manhattan
Dawn Cyphers, 41
Paul Goodman, III, 48, Junction City
Sasha Soules-Jones, 31
Deanna Curry, 44
Henry Jones, 33
Reginald Carter, 35
Earnest Johnson, 55, Manhattan
Mercyjazz Goodridge, 25, Manhattan
Derrick Blea, 26
Jacob Alexander, 25, Manhattan
Scott Alexander, 25
Austin Rowzer, 26
Jerome Glaspie, 48
Taylor Hodges, 21
John Leroy Cody Deem, 28
Elizabeth Hoover, 27 Manhattan
Nicholas Hodges, 26, Saint George
Luke Johnson, 56
Indictment No. 4 (Seven defendants, heroin, $30,000 forfeiture)
Christopher Williams, 48, Manhattan
Diana Moorman, 58, Manhattan
Michael Murphy, 51, Ogden
Melissa Henderson, 36
Quinton Watts, 30
Allison Krosschell, 24, Manhattan
Timothy Lanshaw, 26, Manhattan
Indictment five (One defendant, firearms)
Frederick Swinson, 31
Indictment six (One defendant, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, drug involved premise)
John Thompson, 59, Manhattan
Indictment seven (Four defendants, methamphetamine, marijuana, hydrocodone, firearms, felonious use of a communication device)
Paige Jonas, 26, Manhattan
Trevonn Hall, 20, Ogden
Alyssa Hedmon, 28, Manhattan
Eric Jerome Tucker, 33
Indictment eight (One defendant, firearms, methamphetamine)
Daniel Mainvlle, 35, Manhattan
Indictment nine (One defendant, fentanyl, removal of property to prevent seizure)
Chanel Toliver, 32, Manhattan
Indictment ten (One defendant, methamphetamine)
Damon Brown, 44, Westmoreland
Indictment 11 (One defendant, heroin, felonious use of a communication device)
Jason Simonds, 46, Manhattan
Indictment 12 (One defendant, felonious use of a communication device)
Jerah Gasser, 26
Indictment 13 (One defendant, firearms)
James Atkinson, 50, Manhattan
Upon conviction, the crimes in the 13 indictments carry the following penalties:
Conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in bodily injury or death (Clark, S. Calvert, M. Calvert, J. Toliver, B. Woodyard): Not less than 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $5 million.
Conspiracy to distribute heroin resulting in bodily injury or death (K. Obrecht): Not less than five years and not more than 40 years, and a fine up to $5 million.
Distributing heroin resulting in bodily injury or death (B. Woodyard): Not less than 20 years and a fine up to $5 million.
Conspiracy to distribute controlled substances: Up to 20 years and a fine up to $1 million.
Conspiracy to distribute heroin and fentanyl: Not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $5 million.
Unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking: Not less than five years and a fine up to $250,000.
Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine: Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $10 million.
Unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon: Up to 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.
Maintaining a drug involved premise: Up to 20 years and a fine up to $500,000.
Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine: Not less than five years and not more than 40 years and a fine up to $5 million.
Conspiracy to make a false statement to obtain a firearm: Up to five years and a fine up to $250,000.
Using Facebook Messenger in furtherance of drug trafficking: Up to four years and a fine up to $250,000.
Removal of property to prevent seizure: Up to five years and a fine up to $250,000.
The case was jointly led by the Riley County Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration, with the assistance of the Riley County Attorney’s Office, the Junction City Police Department, the Geary County Sheriff’s Department, the Kansas Highway Patrol, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Department, the Junction City Police Department.