Fourteen people alleged to be part of one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in the greater Cincinnati area have been charged with federal crimes after a major drug bust earlier this year.

Law enforcement says the organization conspired to bring millions of dollars worth of heroin and fentanyl into the greater Cincinnati area over the last four years. Ten of the individuals arrested are from Cincinnati.

The group is alleged to have also distributed drugs in Akron, OH; Fairfield, OH; and Gary, IN. Thirteen have been arrested. One of the individuals is still at large and there is a warrant out for his arrest.

Alleged Traffickers Face Serious Drug Charges

The 14 defendants each face charges for conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, according to the  U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.

This charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of life behind federal bars.

Law enforcement seized:

  • 10 kilograms of fentanyl
  • 28 firearms
  • around $150,000 in cash, and
  • multiple vehicles.

The group allegedly brought drugs into the area from multiple sources, including Atlanta, GA and Baltimore, MD.

According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the group is also suspected of possessing and distributing heroin and methamphetamine. There is no indication of when or if charges relating to those drugs will be filed. 

However, if the government has evidence to support these claims, it will probably move forward with additional criminal charges.

Investigators believe that Steffen Roberson, the group’s suspected leader, purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of opioids in cash with the intent to distribute. His brother, Anthony Roberson, is believed to have manufactured a fentanyl-heroin hybrid substance for the organization. He allegedly cut the product with filler to make the drug more potent.

These steps, if proven to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, could mean that the government seeks more than the mandatory minimum for these two individuals, if not the rest of the alleged members of the drug ring. 

Drug Arrests Come After a 3+ Year Investigation

The investigation took place over several years, going back at least as far as 2018. At least 30 warrants – from both state and federal agencies – have been executed on the homes of the suspected co-conspirators.

According to the DOJ, those searches resulted in the recovery of loaded firearms and extremely large quantities of fentanyl.

The massive investigation included the cooperation of multiple state and federal agencies, including the:

  • FBI
  • DEA
  • Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
  • Hamilton County Regional Enforcement Narcotics Unit
  • Hamilton County Probation Office
  • Middletown Police Department, and
  • Warren County Drug Task Force.

It is not clear whether any of the individuals arrested will face additional federal charges or state charges in connection with the alleged drug activity.

Federal Drug and Weapons Charges Carry Serious Criminal Penalties

Depending on the charges, penalties can vary widely. 

Many individuals convicted of federal crimes can face penalties such as:

  • Prison time
  • Fines
  • Probation
  • House arrest
  • Forfeiture of assets

Most federal drug charges, including those for drug trafficking, arise from the Controlled Substance Act

Aggravating factors that can impact the changes and penalties sought by the government include:

  • How the drug is classified (e.g., Fentanyl is a Schedule II illicit substance)
  • The amount of the drug discovered by police or federal agents 
  • Whether the defendants possess firearms, paraphernalia, or cash
  • The defendant’s existing criminal record and prior criminal charges/convictions, and
  • Whether the drugs cross state lines.

In this case, agents discovered at least 28 firearms during the bust. This could mean that some or all of the defendants in this matter could face state or federal weapons charges.

Federal Firearms Charges

In most cases, simply possessing a firearm is not a crime. No firearms charges have been filed against the group of 14 arrested in the alleged Cincinnati drug trafficking organization. 

However, in certain circumstances, possession of a firearm is prohibited.

Some federal charges that are possible in connection with firearms are:

  • Possession of a Firearm By a Prohibited Person – 18 U.S. Code § 922(g)
  • Sale of a Firearm to a Prohibited Person – 18 U.S. Code § 922(d)
  • Possession of a Firearm in a School Zone – 18 U.S. Code § 922(q)(2)(A)
  • Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Crime or Violent Crime – 18 U.S. Code § 924(c)

Numerous Ohio state statutes also include weapons charges

Call a Lawyer to Defend Yourself Against Federal Drug Charges

Federal charges have serious consequences. You need an experienced Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with federal crimes who can get to work building your defense right away. If you are arrested, don’t make any statements to the police or to prosecutors without your lawyer present.

To learn more, call our Cincinnati criminal defense law firm at (513) 333-0014 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.