Feds bust Ft. Wayne’s largest cocaine operation, indict 6 after raids

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FT. WAYNE, Ind. (March 10, 2015) – Federal prosecutors announced two indictments in what they call the largest cocaine distribution network in the Ft. Wayne area. The indictments follow an extensive investigation led by the FBI’s Ft. Wayne Safe Streets Task Force, which also includes the Allen County Sheriff’s Department, Ft. Wayne Police Department and Indiana State Police.

"We are organized, we know who you are and we are coming to get you," said David Capp, The U.S Attorney of the Northern District of Indiana.

Charged with conspiracy to deliver more than five kilograms of cocaine are:

  • Allan L. Bates, 37, Fort Wayne
  • James W. Lepper, 66, Butler, Ind.
  • Larry J. Norton, 63, Mission, Texas, formerly of Ft. Wayne
  • Eric D. White, 52, Fort Wayne
  • Ryan Bowman, 35 of Payne, Ohio

DeWayne Lewis, 40, of Greenwood, is charged in a separate indictment with possession with intent to deliver over five kilograms of cocaine. Lewis was taken into custody in February after a raid in Greenwood in which authorities seized cash, drugs and vehicles.

"I saw them take out the suspect," said Richard Dickerson.

Dickerson was staying next to room '211,' where Lewis was allegedly stashing his drugs and cash. Dickerson watched the raid and arrest from a nearby fast food restaurant.

"It’s incredible really, to be that close to that amount of drugs and that kind of individual.It really makes you think said Dickerson.

Police found roughly $1 million and a large amount of cocaine in Lewis' hotel room during the February raid.

Capp made it very clear that the investigation is far from over.

"For those still out there who believe they can continue their illegal course of conduct in this area we are coming to get you," said Capp.

Prosecutors said all six suspects are being held without bond. The operation included 17 federal searches in Indiana, Ohio and Texas. As a result, investigators seized more than 100 kilograms of cocaine, $5.9 million in cash and numerous firearms and vehicles.


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