INDIANAPOLIS – After six-and-a-half hours of deliberation on Thursday, a jury unanimously found three of the four Kokomo men police say were involved in one of the biggest drug rings in Howard County history guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute controlled substances.
After being found guilty in that charge, defendants Michael Jones, 37, Shaun Myers, 36, and Jason Reed, 50, are now facing 10 years to life in federal prison and a $10,000,000 fine.
Fellow defendant Michael O’Bannon, 34, was found not guilty on the conspiracy charge, and he was also found not guilty on a charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
But the jury did issue O’Bannon guilty verdicts for conspiracy to use interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and possession of a firearm as a previously convicted felon.
The maximum weight of those charges range from 0-40 years in federal prison.
Along with the conspiracy charge, Myers was also found guilty on a charge of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, while Reed was found guilty of distribution of controlled substances and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
As for Jones, he was also found guilty of distribution of controlled substances, possession of a firearm as a previously convicted felon and laundering monetary instruments, but he was found not guilty on a charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
As the foreman read the verdicts for each one of the four men, subtle gasps could be heard throughout the courtroom as several of the the defendants’ friends and family looked on.
Also inside the courtroom on Thursday were several law enforcement officers who were directly involved with the four-month investigation now known as “Operation Law and Order,” which netted nearly 50 arrests in the spring of 2018.
Many of those officers – both local and federal – were also called to testify during the trial on some of the tactics used during the investigation, including wiretapped phone calls, surveillance footage and even a confidential informant.
Sentencing dates have not yet been scheduled.