Date: April 23, 2020
Donte L. Gibson and Audrey J. Gibson of Akron were sentenced today for their roles in a conspiracy to bring large amounts of fentanyl and carfentanil into the United States from China and then sell the drugs in Akron and Lorain, as well as firearms and money laundering violations. Donte Gibson was sentenced to 300 months in prison with five years of supervised release, and Audrey Gibson was sentenced to 130 months in prison with 3 years of supervised release.
Donte and Audrey Gibson were the last of nine codefendants sentenced in this matter. All nine defendants were indicted on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 200 grams of carfentanil.
"These defendants not only fueled the Opioid drug problem in Northern Ohio, but they supported addiction in several parts of the country," said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. "Criminals and criminal organizations use money laundering as a way to inject their illicit proceeds into our local economies. The laundering of illegal drug profits is as important and essential to drug traffickers as the very distribution of their illegal drugs. Without these ill-gotten gains, the traffickers could not finance their organizations. Today's sentencings are a direct result of the excellent partnership between the IRS, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force."
"This case demonstrates the lengths drug dealers will go to obtain deadly drugs to feed the addiction of their customers," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith. "This group flaunted their lucrative drug trafficking organization proceeds by purchasing homes, cars and other items in an attempt to hide their cash. The FBI will continue working with our law enforcement partners to help rid our communities of the individuals that bring poison to our streets."
"Fentanyl and carfentanil continue to be the deadliest illegal drugs that we are up against in the law enforcement community," said HSI Special Agent in Charge Vance Callender. "HSI has uniquely built a network of domestic and international law enforcement partnerships to bring consequences to criminal enterprises that operate on a global scale to profit from distributing this lethal poison in our local communities."
"These two defendants were the leaders of a drug trafficking ring that used illegal weapons and brought large amounts of fentanyl and carfentanil into our neighborhoods, endangering the lives of so many in our community," said U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman. "Today's sentencing reaffirms our commitment to keeping dangerous drugs and weapons off our streets."
Between May 2016 and February 2018, Mr. and Mrs. Gibson purchased fentanyl and carfentanil from China over the internet and had the drugs shipped to various locations in the Akron-Canton area through the U.S. Postal Service. The Gibsons then directed others to open post office boxes throughout the area, and used co-conspirators to pick-up the packages. The Gibsons then distributed the drugs to others for sale in Akron and Lorain.
Previously sentenced on this matter were:
- Lori E. Martin of Barberton was sentenced on January 28, 2019 on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering to two years of probation.
- Dontaysha S. Gibson of Akron was sentenced on January 16, 2019 on one count each of conspiracy to possess and distribute fentanyl and carfentanil and money laundering to 15 months in prison.
- Derrick A. Adams II of Akron was sentenced on January 24, 2019 on one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute fentanyl and carfentanil and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime to 120 months in prison.
- Lisa A, Richardson of Akron was sentenced on February 28, 2019 on one count each of conspiracy to possess and distribute fentanyl and carfentanil and conspiracy to commit money laundering to 51 months in prison.
- Ajarae C. Hisle of Lorain was sentenced on February 19, 2019 on one count of conspiracy to possess and distribute fentanyl and carfentanil to one month in prison and seven months of home confinement.
- Jamar Jackson of Lorain was sentenced on February 1, 2019 on one count of conspiracy to possess and distribute fentanyl and carfentanil to 57 months in prison.
- Garret R. Frantz of North Canton was sentenced on January 28, 2019 on one count of conspiracy to possess and distribute fentanyl and carfentanil to one day in prison and eight months of home confinement.
Prosecutors were able to secure forfeiture of more than $250,000 in assets, two firearms, and ammunition seized as part of the investigation, as well as a home in Akron.
This case was investigated by the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force -- which is comprised of agents and officers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Akron Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Bennett and Danielle Asher.