Warren Drug Ring Pleads Guilty

A supplier in one of the drug rings investigated during a massive sweep of Trumbull County crime by law enforcement authorities at every level has pleaded guilty, the last of the five person drug ring to accept responsibility for their role in the small ring.

Marcus Hemmingway, 36, of Warren, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to sell crack cocaine. Hemmingway was the last of the five people indicted in the ring to plead guilty. Members of the ring sold undercover agents with the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive 280 grams of crack.

He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 9 by U.S. District Court Judge John Adams in Akron.

Hemmingway originally was charged with five counts of distributing crack and being a felon with a gun. Hemmingway’s criminal history extends to 1994 and has been charged twice with aggravated burglary in 2006 and 2008, according to a search of Trumbull County records.

ATF and local agents investigated the drug ring from August 2012 through Jan. 9, the indictment says. One of the others involved in the ring, Darnell Defrance, 26, of Warren, showed an undercover agent a list of his suppliers and how much he has to pay each source during a Nov. 2 meeting, the indictment says.

Defrance, who reports said was suspected of stealing a car in Cleveland and abandoning it at an auto wrecking yard in Brookfield, then sold the agent 35 grams of crack. During another sell on Dec. 14 in which the agent bought 28 grams of crack, Defrance told the agent he made between $70,000 and $80,000 selling drugs that month.

Defrance pleaded guilty to the conspiracy too. He is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 4.

The other three involved in the ring— Timothy Hooks, Brittany Swogger and James Court Sr.— also pleaded guilty to conspiracy. Swogger and Court, who has been arrested 18 times since 1991, including for aggravated drug trafficking in 1994, will be sentenced Sept. 5. Hooks will be sentenced Sept. 9.

Defrance told undercover agents that Court sold a lot of crack, about one ounce per day.

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