CLEVELAND (WJW) — Federal authorities have charged 11 people in an international drug conspiracy that smuggled opioids including fentanyl and other substances from foreign countries, by way of Italy, for sale on American streets.
A 43-year-old Cleveland man, Brian Lumbus Jr., also known as “B,” is believed to have “orchestrated the operation” while incarcerated at an Ohio state prison, ordering “significant quantities” of the drugs from 51-year-old Giancarlo Miserotti — also known as “Karl” — an Italian citizen and resident, according to a Tuesday news release from U.S. Attorney Rebecca Lutzko:
From the confines of the Ohio Penitentiary, Brian Lumbus led an international and interstate drug trafficking organization that brought fentanyl and other, more potent synthetic drugs from overseas factories to the streets of our region. Several others, both in the United States and outside it, acted in concert with Lumbus to do what he physically could not: obtain, assemble, and repackage those drugs, then mail or deliver them to other conspirators for further distribution.
As this indictment reflects, the United States Attorney’s Office will continue its collaborative efforts with federal, state, local, and international partners to identify, target, and dismantle drug trafficking organizations, whether the suppliers of such poisons are in the Northern District of Ohio or a continent away. I thank our partners at DEA, the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and the Italian government for their tireless efforts to identify and apprehend significant players in the illegal drug trade.Rebecca Lutzko, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio
Also charged in the 34-count indictment are:
- Brianna Lumbus, 22, of Cleveland
- Kayla S. Goudlock, 25, of North Royalton
- Jennifer Robinson, 38, of Tennessee
- Latasha Harris, 40, of Toledo
- Dominique Hammond, 37, of Pittsburgh
- Wanda Ward, 46, of Johnson City, Tennessee
- Marchello Lumbus (AKA Chello), 42, of Cleveland
- Jessica Cochran, 28, of Lorain
- Braisia Lumbus, 23, of Cleveland
Authorities believe the defendants distributed controlled substances between April 2016 and November 2023 in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee and elsewhere in the U.S. The drugs contained synthetic opioids like fentanyl, isotonitazene and metonitazene and designer drugs like alpha-PiHP, a stimulant, and ADB-BUTINACA, which can be found in synthetic cannabis.
Authorities said Brian Lumbus Jr. ordered the drugs from Miserotti, who arranged for them to be exported by the kilogram from several foreign countries, first to Italy, then to the U.S. for redistribution. Their co-conspirators living in the U.S. received the foreign shipments of drugs, cut and mixed them then sold them, prosecutors said. Others paid Miserotti with cryptocurrency.
State corrections workers uncovered the alleged plot and reported it to the Ohio State Highway Patrol and U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, according to the release.
All were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. Others faced various other charges:
- Six of them were charged with substantive possession with intent to distribute controlled substances
- Nine of them were charged with interstate travel in aid of racketeering
- Eight of them were charged with international money laundering conspiracy
- Nine of them were charged with using a communications facility to facilitate a felony drug offense