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Friday, Mar. 27, 2015

Several arrested in meth sting

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

(Photo)
Sankey Rust, 32, Brazil, was indicted along with 17 others on federal drug charges, but remains at-large. Officials said he should be considered armed and dangerous.
Eighteen Wabash Valley residents, including seven with ties to Clay County, have been indicted on federal drug charges as a result of a 14-month, multi-agency investigation.

All 18 individuals were charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and distributing methamphetamine.

At a press conference, which took place at the Clay County Justice Center Wednesday, United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett said the operation was "statewide."

(Photo)
Cassandra Cheatham
"It's fair to say this has dismantled, effectively, an alleged statewide methamphetamine operation," he said. "This was not only distributing methamphetamine throughout the Wabash Valley. This was very well organized and sophisticated."

As of Wednesday afternoon, 17 of the suspects were in federal custody and appeared before federal court. However, Sankey Rust, 32, Brazil, remains at-large on a federal warrant.

"We have been told he may very well be armed," Hogsett said. "But we anticipate he will be taken into custody."

(Photo)
Gwendolyn Kallner
"I'm very confident we will apprehend him," Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Holley said.

Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton added his department had recovered a vehicle late Tuesday evening allegedly used by Rust. In addition, he said one person had been arrested on state charges for hindering the investigation.

Other Clay County residents indicted Wednesday included:

(Photo)
Jacob Dean
* Cassandra Cheatham, 43, Brazil,

* Jacob Dean, 24, Brazil,

* Gwendolyn Kallner, 44, Brazil,

(Photo)
Christopher Loughmiller
* Christopher Loughmiller, 26, Brazil,

* Robert Moore, 46, Brazil, and

* Laura Sproul, 31, Brazil.

(Photo)
Robert Moore
In addition, 11 more were indicted Wednesday, including:

* Kimberly A. Williams, 44, Terre Haute,

* Michael E. Smith, 38, Terre Haute,

(Photo)
Laura Sproul
* James C. Smith, 50, Terre Haute,

* Lori Larkins, 37, Terre Haute,

* Geoffrey Cheek, 25, Terre Haute, formerly of Clay County,

(Photo)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge Robert J. Holley listens as United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett addresses the media. [Order this photo]
* Monica Beard, 29, Terre Haute,

* Theresa Goings, 53, Riley,

* Donald Cheatham, 49, Reelsville,

* Scott Campbell, 45, Poland,

* Edgar Perez, 32, Columbus, and

* Joseph David Havey, 44, Cloverdale.

According to officials, the indictment alleges between approximately December 2010 and Feb. 1, 2012, the 18 defendants participated in the trafficking organization.

Officials stated that Cassandra Cheatham, with assistance from Havey, would obtain large amounts of methamphetamine from Perez. They would then provide the drugs to distributors in Brazil, including Goings, Moore, Donald Cheatham, Loughmiller, Rust and Dean.

As part of the trafficking operation, it is alleged, according to officials, that Sproul and Kallner, would assist in the transportation of the drugs and the arrangement of local sales. According to officials, Campbell is alleged to have assisted Havey in the procurement of methamphetamine from Perez.

The investigation continued, stating that after allegedly obtaining the drugs from Cassandra Cheatham, Goings would provide it to other "mid-level" distributors, including Beard, James C. Smith, Michael E. Smith, Cheek and Williams.

The indictment also alleges Larkins assisted Goings by transporting the drugs and money derived from sales.

The FBI's Wabash Valley Safe Streets Task Force spearheaded the investigation.

"The short term impact of this investigation is evident," Holley said. "Drugs have been taken off the street. Weapons have been taken off the streets."

Holley also acknowledged the other agencies that partnered in the investigation, including Indiana State Police, Clay County Sheriff's Department, Vigo County Sheriff's Department, Putnam County Sheriff's Department, Clay County Prosecutor's Office, Vigo County Prosecutor's Office, Putnam County Prosecutor's Office and the Terre Haute Police Department.

"We rely and need the help of our state and local partners," Holley said.

"This is exciting for us," Heaton added. "Being a small, rural community, we know meth is a problem. These are not first-time offenders. We look to get them out of our community.

"These types of investigations are not going to stop. It's wonderful to see them going away. But this is just an ongoing thing. It's been a never-ending cycle."

Additional agencies assisting included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, Indianapolis Metro Drug Task Force, Putnam and Vigo Adult Probation and the Seelyville Town Marshal.

Clay County Prosecutor B. Lee Reberger added the scope of the alleged operation was impressive.

"The community doesn't realize how structured these dealings are, the many layers or how they work under the radar," he said. "We know it's happening, and we try to get to it."

Hogsett said the conspiracy charge carries a possible sentence of 10 years to life and a fine of up to $10 million.

He added Loughmiller, Cassandra Cheatham, Cheek, Goings and Beard are also facing an additional charge of distributing methamphetamine.

Hogsett also said due to criminal histories, some of the defendants might face "sentencing enhancement," including a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and fines up to $20 million.

"They are staring at some serious time," Hogsett said.


Comments
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Great job to all law-enforcement personnel who assisted in this 'sting'. All the unsung heros who participated in this time consuming investigation are to be highly commended.

-- Posted by captnwench on Wed, Feb 15, 2012, at 7:01 PM

Waking to the sound of a flash bang... alarming

Knowing that the CCSD is removing trash from the neighborhood... PRICELESS!!

-- Posted by Anarchy on Wed, Feb 15, 2012, at 9:22 PM

and on and on and on it goes.... now that these ones are off the streets there will just be 10-15 more step up and take their place. as a recovering addict myself (4+yrs marijuanna 6-7yrs off meth)i know it is a disease and you have to WANT to get help. but before anyone else says it let me... "THESE ARE GOOD PEOPLE,THEY JUST MADE BAD CHOICES" UHHH YA THEIR WHOLE LIVES... NICE JOB PO PO. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A LONGTIME IM PROUD OF YOU. AS LONG AS YOU DIDNT JUST PICK UP THEIR USED NEEDLES N TOSS THEM IN THE TRASH LOL THANKS CLAY COUNTY...WOW THAT FELT WIERD

-- Posted by 3bigpits on Wed, Feb 15, 2012, at 11:07 PM

These people have been at this for a lot of years. Cassandra's husband is already in prison for the same thing. I'm glad the authorities have finally nabbed them all. Now, let's hope they can keep them off the streets forever.

-- Posted by Oldtown on Thu, Feb 16, 2012, at 4:13 PM

isnt this a shame one of these girls just got out for the same charge about a yr ago and one of the females husbands in there for the same thing now the brother too, well good job on the bust...

-- Posted by crazygirl37 on Thu, Feb 16, 2012, at 4:27 PM

Whats bad is the fact these people have been in the in jail time and again. But it takes the federal authorities to actually keep them in jail. I guess this is what is expected with the current administration at the Clay Court House. If tougher law enforcement is the product of a larger and larger federal government sign me up because the local system is a joke.

-- Posted by Schraderfan on Thu, Feb 16, 2012, at 6:33 PM

Wish someone could at least show me ONE SINGLE CRIME these people have committed? assault? murder? theft? fraud? rape?

I just can't find it.

Look up "crime" and you'll find these people didn't commit one, yet, you people are all over them for being "trash in the community" and "keeping them off the streets forever". You people really don't know what liberty and freedom is, do you?

The more you empower the jackboots, the closer they'll come to putting their boot on your throat if you don't clean your toilet or rake your leaves. You all remind me of some kind of combination of Nazis and Communists. America must have moved because I can't find it anymore. You should all be ashamed.

-- Posted by ClayPrepper on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 2:24 PM

Pretty sure that dealing illegal drugs qualifies as a crime. Transporting illegal drugs is a crime. Manufacturing illegal drugs is a crime. Aiding in any of the aforementioned is a crime.

As far as Nazi and communism, you apparently do not understand either one. Neither have anything to do with the opinions expressed here, whether they were wrong or right.

-- Posted by Oldtown on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 5:02 PM

They are not trash ppl. You guys are rediculous. Do you really have nOthIng better to do with your day then sit here and dawg on them?Its sad really

-- Posted by Candisdaughter12 on Fri, Feb 17, 2012, at 10:43 PM

I am truly amazed and shocked that in this day and age there are so many ignorant people who still think that there are NO CRIMES committed when there are drugs involved at this level. Try living in neighborhoods with these people and their activities......night and day. Then you would think differently, believe me. WAKE UP PEOPLE........DRUGS ARE CRIMES. They affect innocent people every day. Try reading the CAUSES of the mysterious house fires and/or explosions........hmmmmmm do you just think that these start for no reason??? It's a very very sad world we live in. And drugs are all around everyone...regardless of "who" you are. You should be thanking the law enforcements for their tireless efforts in cleaning up as much as they can.

-- Posted by JaniLou on Mon, Feb 20, 2012, at 8:14 AM

I take it ClayPrepper is related to one of them,or someone in with them, or is friends of them. I don't care how much dope these "upstanding citizens" take or distribute, but I believe it is a crime to make money and not pay taxes on it! Check on Al Capone's arrest. Why do you think Brazil and Clay County is so poverty stricken? Because drug dealing is the main occupation! I am sick of these moochers! Let them go to work everyday and come home to find out the drug dealers have yet again stolen and damaged what they worked for. Let them pay taxes to support me. That's what's "really sad" Candisdaughter12!!!! I do think we {the taxpayers} are going about this all wrong. Instead of incarcerating them to keep them from getting, selling etc. drugs {LOL}, put them in prisons and force them to take massive amounts of drugs until it's all over! It would save so much time, money and aggravation for what is the inevitable. So--ClayPrepper--look up--TAX EVASION--it is a CRIME!!!!!

-- Posted by Zen on Mon, Feb 20, 2012, at 7:41 PM

As an afterthought--TOO BAD IGNORANCE ISN'T A CRIME! Good job law enforcement, but I am wondering why Brazil City wasn't in on this?

-- Posted by Zen on Mon, Feb 20, 2012, at 7:50 PM

Agreed...drugs are very much a crime. Ppl who can really sit here and say that the law is dumb for taking these ppl off the streets are completly ignorant. I am not saying these ppl are all bad people. These ppl are brothers,sisters, and even mothers and fathers..and the sad thing is that now family will have to suffer along with them while they serve time in jail. BUT THATS THE ONLY WAY PPL WILL LEARN..and sometimes even that isnt enough. We all know that more drugs and dealers are still out there...that will never change...but law enforcement can't sit back and watch and think that they cant help fight it. These women and men are sitting right now in jail thinking of what they did and realizing, hopefully, that shit like that is not worth having your freedom taken away...I just hope that when these people do get out..they can finally realize the wrong and change their lives..

-- Posted by journaledthoughtsxoxo on Sun, Feb 26, 2012, at 9:44 AM


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