Feds Announce Take Down of Major Meth Trafficking Organizations

Local News

After five months of investigating, local, state and federal law enforcement officials made their move on Tuesday, taking down an elaborate and extensive meth trafficking organization responsible for funneling roughly 100 lbs. of methamphetamine into the Evansville area over a five month period. As a result of the investigation, 17 people have been federally indicted on drug-related charges, in addition to 52 people being arrested on local drug-related offenses.

The indictments and subsequent arrests were the result of an investigation spearheaded by the DEA, Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force, EPD, Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies.

From January 2016 through July 2016, leaders of different drug trafficking organizations would purchase massive quantities of meth before having the drug distributed by low-level dealers in the Evansville area. Over the course of the five month investigation, more than 23 lbs. of methamphetamine, approximately 10 lbs. of marijuana, several thousand ecstasy pills and thousands of dollars in cash were seized.

“This criminal organization has been dismantled. It has been dismantled from top to bottom,” said United States Attorney Josh Minkler. “Twenty-three pounds of methamphetamine has been seized. It is heading to a DEA lab and evidence vault. It is not going onto the streets. It is not going into your family’s homes. It is not being responsible for ruining countless lives.”

Minkler said Tavares Clay, 34, of Las Vegas, Nevada and Michael Lockridge, 30, of Evansville were the leaders of the drug enterprise. 29-year-old Lemario Denton of Evansville, 30-year-old Kenneth Ware of Evansville and 31-year-old Brandi Addison of Evansville were the main dealers. As a result of the investigation, 52 guns were seized as well.

Many members of the conspiracy were also in possession of firearms in order to safeguard their stash of meth and their criminal enterprise, Minkler said.

In most cases, the meth would be fronted to the dealers who, in turn, would pay off their debt by selling the meth, Minkler said. The meth originated from California, leading authorities to believe it came up from the cartel superlabs in Mexico.

“I don’t believe that we’ve stopped all drugs coming into this community,” said Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann. “But obviously, anytime you make this many arrests and bring down this large of an organization, it’s going to have an effect.”

Evansville has become an easy target for meth traffickers because the demand for the drug was created long ago through the ‘shake and bake’ method of domestic meth production. Once authorities began cracking down on the sales of pseudoephedrine, the key ingredient in making meth, crystal methamphetamine has been flooding into the area.

“Evansville has a problem. Evansville has a drug problem,” said Assistant United States Attorney Lauren Wheatley. “As you can see a number of these defendants are from California. They have no ties to Evansville other than to sell large amounts of methamphetamine to the residents of Evansville. Narcotics are easy to obtain in places like California, Texas, Arizona and Mexico. Evansville is an easy target.

Federal authorities are still searching for 40-year-old Cedrick Baker of Evansville. He has been federal indicted and is considered a fugitive of justice.

Click here to see the booking photos of some of the defendants that were taken into custody as a result of this morning’s raid.

The following individuals have been federally indicted.

Tavares Clay, 34, Las Vegas, Nevada

Michael Lockridge, 30, Evansville, Indiana
Cederick Baker, 40, Evansville, Indiana

Joshua Wilson, 24, Evansville, Indiana

Kenneth Ware Jr., 30, Evansville, Indiana

Lamario Denton, 29, Evansville, Indiana

Brandi Addison, 31, Evansville, Indiana

Jayshon Clay, 21, San Bernardino, California

Rick Davis, 28, Ingelwood, California

Artisha Howard, 35, Los Angeles, California

Terrance Walker, 40, Evansville, Indiana

Adrian Davison, 42, Evansville, Indiana

Rashad Robinson, 40, Evansville, Indiana

Joshua Jacobs, 29, Evansville, Indiana

Tanner McCoy, 36, Evansville, Indiana

James Mitchell, 36, Evansville, Indiana

Eugene Maxwell, 26, Evansville, Indiana
 

The following individuals have been charged locally.

Zachary Lee Addison, 33, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 4 felony

Darren Elphanso Armstead, 46, Evansville, Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Maria Michelle Barnhart, 34, Mount Vernon, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Kyle Edward Beal, 31, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Katreal Ormond Benaugh, 21, Evansville, Dealing Cocaine, Level 4 felony

Marcus Dewayne Beverly, 31, Evansville, Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 3 felony

Terry Lynn Bilder Jr., 38, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Joe Lovell Blair, 43, Evansville, Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 3 felony

Tajon Duwayne Blair, 29, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 4 felony

Phillip Thomas Boyd, 32, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Narcotic Drug, Level 6 felony

Clarence Earl Brigham, 58, Evansville, Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 5 felony

Angela Dawn Bristow, 38, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Raymond Kevin Broyles, 44, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 5 felony

Casondria Leeann Carter, 31, Wadesville, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Lisa Lynn Clark, 40, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 5 felony

Becky Maria Edwards, 31, Mount Vernon, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 4 felony

Shawn Dewitt Foster, 44, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 4 felony; Conspiracy to Commit Possession of a Narcotic Drug, Level 5 felony

Desmontz Letrey Fullilove, 23, Evansville, Dealing in Cocaine, Level 4 felony

Samantha Jo Gilkey, 39, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony; Conspiracy to Commit Possession of a Narcotic Drug, Level 6 felony

Elarkian Fitzgerald Hardison, 28, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 5 felony

Thomas Gary Haskins, 60, Evansville, Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 3 felony

Nicholas Patrick Heard, 36, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Narcotic Drug, Level 6 felony

Antwan Kentrell Henry, 42, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 5 felony

Noel Newton Henry, 40, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 4 felony

Kandace Jean Hooper, 41, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony; Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 2 felony

Michael Wayne Houchin, 31, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Jamie O’Neil Jones, 24, Evansville, Aiding, Inducing or Causing Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 3 felony; Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 4 felony

Quentin Montrel Jones, 25, Evansville, Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Justin Charles Kempf, 30, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 5 felony

Melissa Ray Kirk, 24, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Melony Jo Klingelhoefer, 51, Evansville, Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 4 felony

Cieairra Monique Lipscombe, 22, Evansville, Aiding, Inducing or Causing Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Nicholas Joseph Mattingly, 35, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 5 felony

Eugene Berry Maxwell, 26, Evansville, Dealing in Cocaine, Level 3 felony

James Latroy Mitchell, 36, Evansville, Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 3 felony; Dealing in Cocaine, Level 5 felony

Brandon Demar Nutt, 33, Newburgh, Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Heather Dawn Orange, 35, Richland, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Eric Edward Rickard, 36, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Randy Alan Shaffer, 29, Chandler, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Marcus Treyan Sherman, 25, Evansville, Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 3 felony

Sandy Louis Stone, 49, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Kevin Wayne Storey Sr., 48, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 5 felony

Bret Alan Swiertz, 48, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 4 felony

Archie Dale Turner, 51, Henderson, Kentucky, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 5 felony; Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 5 felony

Vincent Edward Vandyke, 51, Newburgh, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Brittney Nicole Whitledge, 25, Evansville, Conspiracy to Commit Dealing in a Narcotic Drug, Level 5 felony

Terri Latrease Jackson, 31, Evansville, Aiding, Inducing or Causing Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Marcus Fox, 38, Memphis, Tennessee, Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Jessica M. Fox, 27, Memphis, Tennessee, Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Hector Villeda Rugama, 20, Compton, California, Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Monay Steverson, 25, Evansville, Dealing in Methamphetamine, Level 2 felony

Miles Ramirez, 27, Henderson, Kentucky, Dealing in Methamphetamine (in Henderson County)

Timothy Hawes Jr., 42, Evansville, Possession of Methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

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