Mentor Man Among Those Indicted In Federal Court For Cocaine Charges
Richard Eckford is accused of receiving cocaine
A Mentor man was among the 18 people who were recently indicted in federal court as suspected members of a cocaine-distribution ring, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
"The charges detail a conspiracy that pushed cocaine onto the streets of Cleveland," said Steven Dettelbach, the United States attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. "Members of this group were found with body armor, numerous firearms and piles of cash."
The indictment and arrest of these 18 individuals should serve notice to others engaged in illicit drug activity that this behavior will not be tolerated," said Stephen Anthony, the special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cleveland office. "As evidenced by the results of this investigation, the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force will work tirelessly to target and eliminate the most significant threats to our communities."
The Mentor man, 42-year-old Richard Eckford, is accused of receiving cocaine from the ring's suspected distributors. They are Derek Williams, 50, of Aurora, and Donald Dial, of Cleveland, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Eckford specifically is suspected of receiving his cocaine from Dial.
According to the indictment:
Dial sometimes sold drugs from his business, Dawn’s Market and Deli in Cleveland, to members of the conspiracy. Other deals with conspirators took place at or near The Meeting Place Bar and Lounge, according to the indictment.
Dial has been charged separately, according to public records.
Williams used stash houses in Cleveland and East Cleveland to hide the drugs, according to the indictment.
He also had his customers use code, such as street numbers, to indicate the amount of cocaine they wanted to buy in an effort to thwart law enforcement, according to the indictment.
Law enforcement agents searched multiple locations in April 2012. They recovered more than $166,000 in cash and a bullet resistant vest from Williams’ home in Aurora, as well as nearly $10,000 in cash and three firearms from stash houses he used, according to the indictment.
Overall, prosecutors are seeking to forfeit more than $180,000 in cash, body armor, four handguns and a shotgun, according to the indictment, as well as 13 bottles of champagne seized from Williams’ home.
In addition to Williams. Dial and Eckford, those indicted include:
Cleveland residents Samuel Bradford, 49, Willliam Byrd, 39, George Clements, 48, Brandt Holly, 45, Raymond Jackson, 44, Donte Smith, 33, Marcus Lane, 48, Raymond McCollum, 45, Nicholas Willoughby, 23, and Larnail Wright, 49; Nedra Battle, 44, Albert Martin IV, 59, and Michael Philpott, 61, of University Heights; Clarzel Buckner, 27, of Warrensville Heights; Anthony Howard, 40, of Euclid; and Ricardo Thompson, 51, of Cincinnati.