Raids net arrests in connection with major Indianapolis heroin ring

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 2, 2015) – Investigators seized guns and drugs as they worked to break up a major drug trafficking ring operating on the west side of Indianapolis. The raid, dubbed “Operation This and That” resulted in eleven arrests.

During a news conference Wednesday, investigators said they conducted raids looking for people connected to the operation, which is linked to violent crime around the Indianapolis area. More than 100 law enforcement officers assisted in the operation.

Police searched homes during a raid, seizing guns and drugs. The group mostly trafficked in heroin, although the operation also included methamphetamine and marijuana. The group dealt drugs and also committed acts of violence against competitors.

David McMichel

David McMichel

According to investigators, 31-year-old David McMichel aka "White Boy" aka "David Webster" masterminded the ring between December 2014 and August 2015. The McMichel Drug Trafficking Organization moved significant amounts of heroin and meth from suppliers in Arizona to Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and other locations. Prosecutors said McMichel supervised the distribution of narcotics and acquisition of weapons, collected proceeds from drug sales and stashed drugs in houses around Indianapolis. He received the material from Fernando Vaca-Mata, 32, and Jose Prieto, 33, before giving it to lower-level distributors.

“The goal the McMichel drug trafficking organization was to infest Indianapolis with massive quantities of heroin and meth,” said U.S. attorney Josh Minkler.

The investigation lasted several months, and investigators said McMichel ran the operation while on house arrest from a third felony conviction. During a court-authorized wiretap, investigators heard McMichel order shootings, saying he had a "list a block long" of people he wanted dead. He and his associates found photographs on Facebook of some of the intended targets, investigators said.

“What we can say is we’re making the city safer from this individual and others like him,” said IMPD police chief Rick Hite. “The man who was supposedly on home detention, rehabbing as it were, was still operating a criminal enterprise taking contract hits to anyone who would take it.”

More than 100 law enforcement officers were involved in a Wednesday morning raid that resulted in 11 arrests. In one incident, a woman fired at police, though officers didn't return fire. As a result of the nine-month investigation, 19 firearms were seized along with $160,000 in cash, several pounds of heroin and methamphetamine, and two ballistic vests.

Also targeted in the case:

  • Sophia Gutierrez, 33
  • Steven Nichols, a/k/a Stevie, 39
  • Shewanna Jackson, 32
  • Tyrel Barker, a/k/a T, 48
  • James Caldwell, a/k/a Bo, 37
  • Michael Wrightsman, a/k/a Mike Mike, 42
  • Forest Toliver, a/k/a Bear, 33
  • Beronta Smith, a/k/a B12, 36
  • Jacob Dodson a/k/a Jake, 24, remains a fugitive
  • Steven Eldridge, Jr. a/k/a Little Stevie, 21, remains a fugitive

The investigation involved the DEA, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Attorney's Office, IMPD, Hamilton-Boone County Drug Task Force, Metro Drug Task Force and Marion County Prosecutor's Office.

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