BENTON, Ill. (KSDK) - A federal grand jury indicted seven people, including an East St. Louis police detective, for conspiring to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen Wigginton said Friday.
According to court documents, the suspects were identified as:
38-year-old Martez Moore (aka "Tez" and "Mo") of Belleville
33-year-old Antwone Johnson (aka "Twon) of Cahokia
38-year-old Dewayne Hill of St. Clair County
46-year-old Brian Matthews (aka "Caine) of St. Clair County
25-year-old Jaren Jamison (aka "J") of Cahokia
27-year-old Bryant Sawyer of St. Clair County
41-year-old Orlando Ward of Belleville (East St. Louis police detective)
All were charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine (Count 1). All but Orlando Ward were charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime (Count 2). Martez Moore and Antwone Johnson were also charged with two additional counts of indictment with distribution of "crack" cocaine.
"Naturally, it's tough because everybody seems to judge all of us in the same basket and that's not the case," said Chief Michael Floore. "We do still have professional officers, and officers with great credibility. Unfortunately, again this is a storm and hopefully this ends and is over with."
Ward was hired in 2001 and is the lead detective in the department. Chief Floore says he only dealt with homicides, and is not involved in drug cases. Floore tells us he was blind-sided by what the charge was, and he's baffled.
"That saddens us because we strive for doing our jobs, and doing them diligently. It's real hard to understand why this has happened. We don't know. But we definitely don't condone it and don't condone any wrongdoing," said Chief Floore.
Mayor Alvin Parks says he's known Ward for about 20 years.
"It's disheartening. It's a situation that we never want to present to the East St. Louis community or any other community. When you have someone who's been sworn under oath to take the law and make sure he's role modeling that behavior, it's disgusting." Parks said.
Chief Floore says they are considering going back through all of Detective Ward's cases, but that is an ongoing discussion that they'll deal with as they go.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation relating to four firearms.
The distribution conspiracy is alleged to have taken place from April 5 to May 7 in St. Clair and Madison counties.
If convicted, the maximum sentences on each charge are as follows:
Count 1 - 10 years to life imprisonment, a $10 million fine, and at least 5 years of supervised release
Count 2 - 5 years to life imprisonment consecutive to the sentence on Count 1, a $250,000 fine, and up to 5 years of supervised release
Count 3 - up to 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine, and at least 3 years of supervised release
Count 4 - 5 years to 40 years imprisonment, a $5 million fine, and at least 4 years of supervised release
Wardis on paid administrative leave, and will remain on paid leave until he's either convicted or cleared. His trial is set for July 8. Wardwas ordered to remain in jail without bond until the conclusion of the trial.