On July 2, a man from Shaker Heights was found not guilty of his alleged role in a large-scale drug ring. The 23-year-old was one of 92 individuals accused of playing a role in a heroin ring the FBI had investigated for several years. Official charges against the defendant were listed in news reports as dealing heroin.

The defendant was alleged to have sold close to an ounce of heroin to an undercover law enforcement official in November 2012. Called Operation Fox Hound, the investigation’s ultimate goal was to stop a drug trafficking operation responsible for moving heroin out of Chicago and Atlanta to the Cleveland area.

The formal indictment states that alleged members of the heroin ring used strong-arm tactics to acquire the drugs. These tactics include ambushing and robbing rival dealers at gunpoint, restraining their victims with zip ties and robbing customers. The ring allegedly then sold the stolen drugs at discount prices and used stolen money to acquire additional heroin.

The jury returned its verdict of not guilty after a three-day trial, but the news report does not provide any details about the verdict. The defendant has been convicted previously on several different charges including evidence tampering, drug trafficking and possession.

While the story does not go into detail about the elements of the trial, it highlights how even convicted felons can win a significant victory in the courtroom. Guidance from a defense attorney along with solid defense tactics can turn around even the most dour situation. News of this verdict should provide a ray of hope for other Cleveland area residents facing federal drug charges.

Source: Cleveland.com, “Shaker Heights man charged in large heroin ring found not guilty,” Eric Heisig, July 03, 2015