WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A man serving a 90-year sentence for participating in the 1993 murder of a Kansas corrections officer is charged in a 55-count federal indictment with running a drug ring from his Oklahoma prison cell. The indictment listed 24 defendants. (See below)

The U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release Wednesday that 47-year-old Travis Knighten was the brains behind a criminal organization that distributed methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine powder, crack cocaine and marijuana in Wichita.

Federal agents began investigating in April 2019 and reviewed thousands of intercepted messages among the alleged traffickers.

In text messages and in phone calls, Knighten and the co-conspirators avoided using words that anyone overhearing them might too easily recognize. They used a variety of slang terms instead. For instance, they might call methamphetamine “ice hockey.” Heroin could be called “Jordan.” Cocaine could be “soda.” Sometimes crack cocaine was “hard” and “gorilla” could be the word for marijuana.

“A large scale criminal drug conspiracy operating in Kansas whose shot caller is behind bars in another state talking on a cell phone makes this a unique case in my experience,” U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said. “To the alleged traffickers, I think I would say: Can you hear us now?”

Knighten, who is incarcerated at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma, is serving a 90-year sentence for killing Officer Mark Avery in March 1993 during a fight in the Lansing Correctional Facility.

Although Knighten is being held in Oklahoma, he is still under the authority of the Kansas Department of Corrections. 

Charges and potential penalties include:

  • Operating a continuing criminal enterprise (count 1): Not less than 20 years and a fine up to $2 million.
  • Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (count 2): Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $10 million.
  • Conspiracy to distribute marijuana (count 3): Up to five years and a fine up to $250,000.
  • Conspiracy to distribute heroin (count 4): Not less than 15 years and a fine up to $20 million.
  • Conspiracy to distribute cocaine powder (count 5): Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $8 million.
  • Conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine (count 6): Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $8 million.
  • Maintaining drug involved premises (counts 7, 8, 9 and 10, 54, ):
  • Unlawful use of a telephone in furtherance of drug trafficking (counts 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47): Up to four years and a fine up to $250,000.
  • Possession with intent to distribute powder cocaine (count 23): Up  to 20 years and a fine up to $1 million)
  • Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine (count 36, 39, 49): Not less than 10 years and a fine up to $10 million.
  • Possession with intent to distribute heroin (count 37): Not less than five years, not more than 40 years, and a fine up to $5 million.
  • Possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking (count 50, 51, 52, 53, 55): Not less than five years and a fine up to $250,000.

Here is a list of the defendants:

  • Richard Adams, 27, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 3, 9, 48, 49 and 52.
  • David Bell, 46, Wichita, Kan., counts 5, 6, 40 and 50)
  • Frederick Collins, 47, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 5, 6 and 33.
  • Byron Fitchpatrick, 45, Wichita, Kan., counts 5 and 42.
  • Eric Goodwin, 53, Wichita, Kan., counts 4, 29 and 30.
  • Dorzee Hill, 40, Wichita, Kan., counts 3, 4, 5, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31, 32, 35, and 45.
  • Satoria Hill, 33, Wichita, Kan., counts 5 and 45.
  • Orlando Hogan, 44, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 4, 9 and 27.
  • Derek Hubbard, 44, Wichita, Kan., counts 3 and 24.
  • Travis Knighten, 47, Oklahoma State Penitentiary, counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 24, 25, 38, 40, 44, 47 and 54.
  • Kevin Lewis, 56, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 16 and 17.
  • Armando Luna, 39, Oklahoma State Penitentiary, counts 2, 9, 18, 19, 20 and 54.
  • Trey Martin, 27, Wichita, Kan., counts 3 and 26.
  • Mario Ponds, 39, Wichita, Kan., counts 5 and 42.
  • Otis Ponds, 41, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 8 and 41.
  • Robert Richmond, 48, Wichita, Kan., counts 5, 6 and 46.
  • Kimberly Schmidtberger, 38, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 4, 6 and 47.
  • Shantus Smallwood, 46, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 43 and 44.
  • Travis Vontress, 43, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 4, 5, 10, 21, 22, 23 and 51.
  • Kevin Walker, 54, Wichita, Kan., counts 4 and 28.
  • Tia Ward, 40, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 3, 8, 38, 39 and 53.
  • Eddie Washington, 60, Wichita, Kan., counts 5, 31, and 32.
  • Trevor Wells, 39, Wichita, Kan., counts 2, 3, 4, 7, 35, 36 and 37 and 55.
  • Dallas Williams, 38, Wichita, Kan., counts 2 and 34.