INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Referring to Richard Grundy III as “public enemy number one,” U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler told CBS 4 News he will seek a life sentence for the convicted Indianapolis drug kingpin.
Grundy and four other men were convicted by a federal jury in Evansville Thursday night of conspiracy to flood the streets of Indianapolis with drugs estimated to be worth $3.5 million in 2016 and 2017.
“Operation Electric Avenue” rounded up 25 people in November of 2017 and accused them of financing, transporting and distributing marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin in Indianapolis.
Grundy was the accused ring leader, raising the money to purchase the drugs in Phoenix, Arizona, and then dispatching couriers to bring them back to central Indiana while overseeing the distribution of the narcotics to a series of street-level dealers.
“Rick Grundy is a classic kingpin,” said U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler. “He’s the classic head of an organization. Not gonna be caught with the money, he’s not gonna be caught with the drugs, but he’s gonna have everybody do his business for him.”
20 defendants from the original FBI raids accepted plea agreements, some which included commitments to testify against Grundy and the remaining co-conspirators in exchange for reduced sentences.
“We weren’t the ones who selected those defendants. Mr. Grundy selected them,” said Minkler. “He’s the one who recruited them into his organization, he’s the one who trafficked drugs with them. He’s the one that put this group together, so he selected the witnesses against him as it turned out."
“We clearly threw the kitchen sink of federal resources at this case,” said Minkler. “We took our time. We followed the law. We did wiretaps. We did surveillance. We did search warrants. Sort of a belt and suspenders approach. When Mr. Grundy was arrested this time, the end of the chapter was a life prison sentence, and this is what we’re going to do.”
For years Grundy avoided the best efforts of Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and IMPD investigators to convict him of murder and drug charges as he ran a previous organization on the city’s north side.
“I don’t think we will ever know for certain the extent of the violence that was perpetrated by that group,” said Curry. “IMPD homicide investigators believe that group could be responsible for as many as 25 to 30 homicides. We’ll never know for certain. Any number of the individuals who have been suspects in those cases have been now deceased themselves because they have become the victims of homicides.
“The verdict obtained by the federal prosecutors has made a huge dent in violent crime and drug dealing here in Marion County.”
In early 2015, Grundy was jailed on state charges related to drug dealing and the murders of several rivals.
Grundy’s ruthless reputation and investigative missteps resulted in several charges being dropped as prosecutors succeeded in winning only one marijuana felony conviction in September of 2017.
That case resulted in Grundy receiving credit for time served in jail while awaiting his trial and two years of non-reporting probation.