Large heroin bust takes bite out of drug market

St. Joseph & Marion Counties – On the evening of April 10, 2012, officers with the Indiana State Police and the South Bend Police Department Special Operation Section worked in concert to remove more than 10 pounds of powder heroin from the streets. The multi-jurisdictional investigation that led officers to the estimated $400,000 in heroin stemmed from an investigation that started in Indianapolis during the summer of 2011.

According to the Indiana State Police, the investigation was initiated after officers with the Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section (DES) purchased heroin from two Indianapolis men. The buy led investigators north to a possible heroin supplier and drug trafficking ring in South Bend that included individuals from outside Indiana.

The sting operation was set into motion on Tuesday evening April 10th after suspected ring leader Curtis Lee III, 37, of South Bend, purportedly received a delivery of heroin from Johanney Quintana, 44, of Stickney, Illinois. According to law enforcement, the transaction between Lee and Quintana occurred in the parking lot of the Speedway gas station located at Brick Road and the US 31 Bypass in South Bend.

According to the State Police, the eight month investigation continued when Emergency Response Teams (ERT) from the state police and South Bend Police Department simultaneously raided five locations in northern St. Joseph County. During the execution of the search warrants, cash in the amount of $434,550 was discovered at residences located at 17470 Darden Road, 3334 Woodmont Drive, 1914 Rockne Drive in South Bend and in a storage unit in Granger, Indiana. One of the residences searched was that of Jerome Boyd, 38, an alleged co-conspirator of Lee. Also seized during the search warrants were two handguns, several luxury vehicles, and a semi tractor and trailer. All three men were charged in Marion County with conspiracy to distribute heroin, a Class A Felony. All three were originally incarcerated in St. Joseph County and were later transported to the Marion County Jail for future proceedings.

Both a search and arrest warrant were served at an Indianapolis address early on the morning of Friday, April 13th. Arrested without incident was Darnell Beverly, 33, at 2811 E. 28th Street, Indianapolis. As set forth in the probable cause affidavit, Beverly was allegedly distributing heroin from an automotive repair shop located at 1902 E. 46th Street in Indianapolis and working in conjunction with Lee. The warrants were served by members of the Indiana State Police, with assistance from Drug Enforcement Administration agents and members of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Beverly is being held at the Marion County Jail on charges of dealing heroin, a Class A Felony. Nash Garrett, 29, another co-conspirator, was arrested on April 13, for allegedly purchasing heroin from Beverly to distribute in Bloomington.

“We have received anecdotal information from law enforcement officers in Marion County that heroin appears to be making a resurgence on the streets,” said Prosecutor Terry Curry. “These arrests and charges illustrate the critical importance of cooperation among law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting these cases. I commend the Indiana State Police, as well as the many other agencies involved in putting together such a thorough and comprehensive investigation.”

Agencies participating in the investigation include the Indiana State Police, the South Bend Police Department Special Operations Section, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The defendants will be prosecuted in Marion County. Lee, Quintana and Boyd had initial hearings on Friday, April 14th. Darnell Beverly appeared for his initial hearing on Monday, April 16th. The cases all have been assigned to Criminal Court 20.

One alleged co-conspirator, Dlon Edwards, remains at large. To assist law enforcement officers in locating Edwards, citizens are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS (8477). The toll free number in the South Bend region is 800-222-TIPS (8477).