MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) – U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister on Wednesday shared the results of a multi-year investigation that took place in Manhattan.
It is called Operation Chicago Connection because the drugs were largely brought to the Manhattan and Riley County areas from Chicago.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged more than 50 people on a variety of drug-related accounts that McAllister emphasized dealt with heroin, fentanyl and other drugs.
“Fentanyl is a deadly drug that has come onto the scene in recent years, resulted in many overdose death across the nation,” McAllister said.
The investigation started with the death of Maxwell F. Dandaneu, an 18-year-old K-State student. In the fall of 2017, Dandaneu decided to try heroin for the first time.
“The heroin contained fentanyl,” said McAllister. “That one and only time was fatal.”
McAllister said five people were tied to that death in Manhattan. Henry Clark, Sylvester Calvert, Michael Calvert, James Toliver, and Blake Woodard were charged with conspiring to distribute fentanyl and heroin resulting in Dandaneu’s overdose death, as well as other charges. Woodward is charged with directly distributing the fentanyl to Dandaneu that led to the fatal overdose.
Also Wednesday, McAllister said agents arrested 35 people Tuesday for distribution of controlled substances, making false statements, using social media to further drug trafficking, and for the unlawful use of firearms. Other drugs found included ecstasy, marijuana, methamphetamine and hydrocodone.
“One of the largest operations we have ever conducted through the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the State of Kansas,” said McAllister. “Certainly, one of the largest if not the largest takedowns we have ever conducted.”
The office said those defendants charged were beginning to make initial appearances in a Topeka federal court. Some were former Chicago residents.
The following defendants were charged:
Indictment 1 (Nine defendants, conspiracy, overdose death, heroin, fentanyl, and marijuana, $30,000 forfeiture)
- Henry Clark, 42
- Sylvester Calvert, Jr., 31, Manhattan
- Michael Clavert, 28, Manhattan
- James Toliver, 39, Manhattan
- Blake Woodward, 23
- Kimberly Obrecht, 33
- Robert Houston, Sr., 39
- Prianna Baggett, 24, Manhattan
- Jeremy Richmond, 27
Indictment 2 (Five defendants, heroin, fentanyl, firearms, $30,000 forfeiture)
- Kevin Henderson, 48, Topeka
- Kenneth Shorter, 57, Manhattan
- Wayne Ingram, 24
- Quinton Shorter, 65, Manhattan
- Shirley Moton, 60, Manhattan
Indictment 3 (21 defendants, methamphetamine, heroin firearms, $50,000 forfeiture)
- Dontae Patterson, 39
- Michael Walker, Jr.,26
- Joseph Hammond, 48, Manhattan
- Dawn Cyphers, 41
- Paul Goodman, III, 48, Junction City
- Sasha Soules-Jones, 31
- Deanna Curry, 44
- Henry Jones, 33
- Reginald Carter, 35
- Earnest Johnson, 55, Manhattan
- Mercyjazz Goodridge, 25, Manhattan
- Derrick Blea, 26
- Jacob Alexander, 25, Manhattan
- Scott Alexander, 25
- Austin Rowzer, 26
- Jerome Glaspie, 48
- Taylor Hodges, 21
- John Leroy Cody Deem, 28
- Elizabeth Hoover, 27 Manhattan
- Nicholas Hodges, 26, Saint George
- Luke Johnson, 56
- Indictment 4 (Seven defendants, heroin, $30,000 forfeiture)
- Christopher Williams, 48, Manhattan
- Diana Moorman, 58, Manhattan
- Michael Murphy, 51, Ogden
- Melissa Henderson, 36
- Quinton Watts, 30
- Allison Krosschell, 24, Manhattan
- Timothy Lanshaw, 26, Manhattan
Indictment 5 (One defendant, firearms)
- Frederick Swinson, 31
Indictment 6 (One defendant, heroin, fentanyl, methamphetamine, drug involved premise)
- John Thompson, 59, Manhattan
Indictment 7 (Four defendants, methamphetamine, marijuana, hydrocodone, firearms, felonious use of a communication device)
- Paige Jonas, 26, Manhattan
- Trevonn Hall, 20, Ogden
- Alyssa Hedmon, 28, Manhattan
- Eric Jerome Tucker, 33
Indictment 8 (One defendant, firearms, methamphetamine)
- Daniel Mainvlle, 35, Manhattan
Indictment 9 (One defendant, fentanyl, removal of property to prevent seizure)
- Chanel Toliver, 32, Manhattan
Indictment 10 (One defendant, methamphetamine)
- Damon Brown, 44, Westmoreland
Indictment 11 (One defendant, heroin, felonious use of a communication device)
- Jason Simonds, 46, Manhattan
Indictment 12 (One defendant, felonious use of a communication device)
- Jerah Gasser, 26
Indictment 13 (One defendant, firearms)
- James Atkinson, 50, Manhattan
FENTANYL IN WICHITA
Wichita police say they know fentanyl is here in the area, and they are now going back and testing seized drugs for the presence of fentanyl.
“So, we know it is here,” said Wichita Police Captain Jeff Allen.
Allen says the reason they are testing is because fentanyl can be disguised or rolled into other drugs like oxycodone.
“You don’t know from the overall look of the pill. These things are very, very similar. They’re almost a duplicate,” said Allen. “And if we think those pills could be fake oxycodone then we’ll go back and have those tested for fentanyl.”
Wichita forensic experts say fentanyl deaths have doubled in the past year in Sedgwick County.
“We started noticing that fentanyl deaths were on the rise, (and) I made the decision to put that in our standard panel so almost every death case gets screened for fentanyl,” said Dr. Timothy Rohrig, Director of the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center. “So we have a sense of what is going on. Not only in the people that are dying but the scary part, or more scary, is we are seeing fentanyl in our drug impaired drivers.”
Dr. Rohrig says numbers for deaths in the county attributed to meth continue to rise as well. He says they are vigilant about tracking numbers and looking for trends.
“So we have been a little behind the curve on some things here in Kansas,” said Dr. Rohrig. “But I have stayed in touch with colleagues in other parts of the country and they are seeing this in larger numbers as well.”