The Christmas Day death of an Akron man more than a year ago continues to spark indictments against those accused of supplying him with the lethal dose of heroin.
Garland V. Phelps Jr., 36, is the second alleged heroin dealer accused of supplying the drug to Rollie Harmon, who died Dec. 25, 2012, after ingesting a lethal dose inside a motel in Green.
Danielle Hoover, 30, is awaiting sentencing in Summit County Common Pleas Court after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges for her role in Harmon’s death.
Hoover was arrested about a month after Harmon’s death. She was also connected to the overdose death of a Coventry Township man. Summit County sheriff’s deputies said Hoover was the source of the heroin that killed Harmon, 34, and Richard Allen Davis, 40.
Phelps was arrested this week as part of a massive sweep targeting heroin dealers in Akron. Authorities say Phelps’ indictment carries a specification that his trafficking of heroin led to a death.
In addition, 19 others are accused of trafficking the highly addictive drug to users.
The defendants are part of a wide-ranging conspiracy network that worked for more than three years channeling heroin and other illegal drugs into the Akron area, police said.
“This is an example of the fine working relationship between law enforcement in Summit County and our continued attack on drug trafficking,” said Akron Police Chief James Nice.
In all, 18 Akron residents were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin. Two other Akron residents face related trafficking charges.
In 18 other counts, various defendants are charged with substantive distributions of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and crack cocaine.
Authorities said the suspects worked in concert with each other starting in 2011 to bring heroin into Akron from Atlanta, Chicago and other cities.
Prosecutors said the indictments reveal “details of discussions between some conspirators about shooting, robbing and killing rival drug dealers and discussions about killing people they suspected of being informants to law enforcement.”
The investigation and arrests coincide with an extensive effort by local, state and federal authorities to combat what they call a heroin epidemic across the country.
In Summit County alone, more than 40 people died of heroin-related overdoses in 2013. The deaths exceed the number of those killed in a five-year span about a decade earlier.
“These defendants profited off people’s addictions, and in one case directly contributed to an overdose death,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute heroin dealers while working with medical and treatment professionals in an effort to thwart this epidemic.”
The investigation was conducted under the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and by the Drug Enforcement Administration, in partnership with the Akron/Summit County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area initiative, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Davis was found dead inside a pickup truck on Killian Road in Coventry Township from what the medical examiner’s office said was an overdose of heroin and cocaine.
On Dec. 26, Harmon was found dead from a heroin overdose, authorities said. His body was found at Steve’s Motel in Green, according to the medical examiner’s office.
Harmon and Hoover had rented the room for six hours, a report shows. When Harmon didn’t check out in time, a motel worker went to the room and found his body on a bed.
Hoover was not there, according to an investigator’s report.