Thursday, December 18, 2003

DEA says heroin ring thwarted

Leader among 30 arrested in three states

Enquirer staff and wire reports

A 47-year-old Cincinnati man was the head of a multistate Midwest heroin ring that has been broken up with at least 30 arrests in Indianapolis, Bloomington, Chicago and Cincinnati, authorities said Wednesday.

Larry D. Williams Sr. was arrested in Cincinnati Tuesday. He was identified as the ringleader of the illegal operation that had generated about $500,000 a month since June, federal and local authorities said in a press conference in Indianapolis.

"It's the end of the organization," Armand McClintock, special agent for the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Wednesday of the arrests of Williams and his cohorts. The six-month investigation determined the heroin ring has been in operation about 10 years, authorities said.

Authorities said Williams, whose street address in Cincinnati was not available Wednesday night, would journey to Chicago to secure large quantities of heroin that he and others would distribute in the Marion County area.

"Drug transactions also took place in Cincinnati,'' McClintock said.

Williams stored the heroin in a "stash house" in Indianapolis, authorities said. He also had "sizeable amounts of cash easily accessible'' to make large purchases of the drug, McClintock said.

Among the 17 facing federal indictments, 12 are from Indianapolis, two from the Chicago area, one from Bloomington, and two, Williams and Jawanna Rouson, 29, are from Cincinnati. The suspects, being held in Indianapolis' Marion County Jail, are charged with participating in a drug conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute.

Thirteen others who authorities said played smaller roles in the organization were arrested in Marion County, which encompasses Indianapolis.

"This indictment and these arrests are going to send the message that we're going to be on top of the heroin problem," said Susan Brooks, the U.S. Attorney for southern Indiana. "We really were going to get out in front of the problem reaching central Indiana and the Midwest."

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