$4.5M, 280 lbs. marijuana confiscated; 6 face federal charges

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Six people face federal indictment following an investigation that uncovered 280 pounds of marijuana, $4.5 million in cash, as well as vehicles and stolen guns.

U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler on Friday announced federal charges against the Indianapolis-area residents in connection with what Minkler calls a “large-scale marijuana distribution network.”

The indictment alleges the suspects traveled to California to obtain the marijuana, then brought it back to Indianapolis, keeping it in storage facilities on the city’s west side for redistribution. Minkler had this to say about the indictment: “Drug dealing brings guns and violence into our communities. Those who feel they can deal drugs without consequences in this district should think again.”

These six people face charges that include conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, money laundering and unlawful possession of a firearm:

  • Joseph Pickett Sr., 46, of Indianapolis
  • Darrell Pickett, 52, of Indianapolis
  • Sheila Stepp, 54, of Indianapolis
  • Leonard Allen Jr., 48, of Indianapolis
  • Kelly Jo Spinks Jr, 33, of Speedway
  • William Belew, 32, of Martinsville

According to a release from the Department of Justice, the six composed a drug trafficking organization (DTO), led by Pickett Sr., Pickett and Spinks, which traveled by commercial airline to California at least 20 times between June 2015 and March 2017, bringing 100-400 pounds of marijuana back to Indianapolis with them each time. The federal indictment alleges they also used a motor home on occasion for the task.

Law enforcement confiscated the following as a part of their investigation:

  • $4.5 million in cash
  • 280 pounds high-grade marijuana
  • 181 firearms (7 stolen in Indiana)
  • 21 vehicles
  • 2 motor homes
  • 16 motorcycles
  • $19,000 in jewelry

Bryan Roach, chief of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, which joined the Drug Enforcement Administration in this investigation, expressed gratitude for the cooperation and assistance of federal law enforcement partners: “We are extremely thankful for our federal partnerships that continue to help rid our streets of illegal narcotics.”

Pickett Sr., Pickett, Stepp, Spinks and Belew face anywhere from 10 years to life in prison if convicted, while Allen faces up to 10 tens years in prison if convicted.

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