Fifteen charged in cocaine trafficking ring stretching from Texas to Panhandle

Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced today 13 individuals from the Houston, Texas, and Pensacola areas were jointly indicted on federal drug trafficking and money laundering violations. They include:

Rodney D. Butler, 48;
Vernetta E. Harrison, 31;
Aston Ingram, 49;
Antonio Blackwell, 30;
Anthony Fisher, Jr., 25;
Terrance D. Goodman, 38;
Dexter A. Locke, 26;
Michael A. McCants, 27;
Lamarcus D. Ries, 28;
Rodney D. Ries, 26;
Nastassja N. Sassau, 27;
Charlie N. Steans, 47; and
Terrance T. Stone, 33.

In conjunction with this thirteen co-defendant indictment, Darius D. Williams, 24, and Marheem R. Smith, 23, of Pensacola, were separately indicted on related federal firearms charges.

First appearances will take place before United States Magistrate Judges in Pensacola, Florida, and Houston, Texas, and a projected trial date is February 2015 in Pensacola.

These indictments are part of a continuing investigation into the transportation of cocaine from Texas into the Northern District of Florida. U.S. Attorney Marsh praised the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Homeland Security Investigations; the Internal Revenue Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office; the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office; the Gulf Breeze Police Department; the Pensacola Police Department; and the State Attorney’s Office, whose joint investigation led to the indictments in the case. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David L. Goldberg.

An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial in a court of law.