UPDATE 9/26/12 @ 13:35 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Fourth District Court of Appeals has upheld the convictions of five men dubbed the "Detroit 5" by prosecutors.
According to a release from Scioto County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Kuhn, the 2011 convictions of the men have been upheld by the court and have been returned with minor adjustments in sentencing.
Daniel Pippen, 36, Maurice Williams, 31, Tyrone Dixon, 28, Eric Durr, 39, and Evan Howard, 32, all of Detroit, were found guilty og eight counts each of trafficking in oxycodone, heroin and marijuana. Each man was convicted as a major drug offender which carries and additional sentencing and for trafficking in drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. Each person was sentenced to 27 years in prison.
Back in December 2010, the Detroit 5 were arrested at a downtown Portsmouth duplex after a slew of anonymous tips. That’s where police seized nearly 2,000 oxycodone pills, heroin, cocaine, marijuana and nearly $18,000 in cash.
"The irony of this case is that it happened about half way between Scudder School and the courthouse," said Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pat Apel. " Scudder is an alternative school for students with discipline problems, many of whom have drug problems, and these Detroit drug dealers are going wide open in eyesight of the school and the courthouse."
Kuhn tells WSAZ.com that the court will look at some minor tweaks with sentencing, but the sentences will not see drastic changes.
On Friday, some of those drug dealing targets got bull’s-eye hits -- with stiff prison sentences.
In fact, one organized crime conspiracy came to a grinding halt.
In Portsmouth, prosecutors call them the "Detroit Five" -- all of whom have prior criminal records.
All were convicted Friday of major drug-trafficking charges. Police hope the sentences send a message.
Last October, a tip led police to arrest Daniel Pippen, Maurice Williams, Tyrone Dixon, Evan Howard and Eric Durr. All were arrested at a downtown Portsmouth duplex. That’s where police seized nearly 2,000 oxycodone pills, heroin, cocaine, marijuana and nearly 18,000 in cash.
Prosecutor Pat Apel says the Detroit Five ran a big business.
"They would bring the drugs in, then sell them to mid-level dealers who would pass them along to street dealers," Apel said.
Each defendant was sentenced to 27 years in prison with no parole -- 10 years as a major drug offender.
It was all highlighted by trafficking within 1,000 yards of the Scudder School. Ironically, it’s an alternative school for at-risk students with problems that stem directly from drug abuse. Students there could look right out the door at a major drug dealing operation.
Apel said one of the Detroit Five used 26 aliases. Some have lengthy records of violent crimes, including assault, home invasion and sex crimes.
So, will these major player convictions put a dent in local drug traffic?
"I'd like to say a big dent, but in fact when this happens, others come in to fill the void," Apel said.
But Apel and police say Portsmouth is a safer place with the Detroit Five off the streets.
Police say Portsmouth is the first usual stop for Detroit drug dealers.
The second stop is Huntington. Authorities hope Friday's sentences put a serous crimp in the U.S. 23 drug pipeline.
Prosecutors also call the group the "The Detroit 5."
According to a news release, a jury found Daniel C. Pippen, 36, Maurice H. Williams, 31, Tyrone R. Dixon, 28, Eric D. Durr, 39 and Evan Jamar Howard, 32, guilty Thursday on eight counts each of trafficking in oxycodone, heroin and marijuana.
The jury heard four days of testimony before coming down with the verdict Thursday.
The Scioto County Prosecutor says each defendant was convicted as a major drug offender which carries an additional ten year sentence and for trafficking in drugs within 1000 feet of a school.
The five are set for sentencing at 2 p.m. Friday.
The five defendants were arrested on October 25 after anonymous tips about drug sales near the courthouse.
According to a news release, officers went to a home on 6th Street and when they knocked on the door they heard voices and movement. That's when officers kicked open the door and found the five men.
Officers searched the house and found 1824 oxycodone 30 mg tablets, heroin, cocaine and marijuana, according to the release. Investigators also found $16,800 in cash.
"The irony of this case is that it happened about half way between Scudder School and the courthouse," Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Pat Apel said. "Scudder is an alternative school for students with discipline problems, many of whom have drug problems, and these Detroit drug dealers are going wide open in eyesight of the school and the courthouse."
The five suspects have prior convictions, according to the release.
Katherine Lansing owns the home where the arrests took place in October. She is currently on probation. Officers are still trying to locate her.
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