INDIANAPOLIS–The FBI says a dozen Wednesday morning raids in Indianapolis targeted 19 accused members of a violent drug ring.
Acting U.S. Attorney John Childress accuses Jason Betts of running an operation which received 100-pound shipments of meth to sell in Indy and elsewhere. Authorities confiscated four pounds of fentanyl and 14 pounds of meth in the raids, along with 35 guns.
FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan says the drug ring is believed to be linked to an undisclosed number of murders. No one is charged with violent crime — all the charges so far relate to the drug business. But Childress says investigators are still trying to build a case.
The indictment accuses one of Betts’ accused top lieutenants of threatening to burn down the business of another co-defendant’s girlfriend if he didn’t pay what he owed on a supply of fentanyl.
Childress says the investigation began in January with a tip, and authorities got a warrant to conduct wiretaps. He calls the ring a “significant” player in the Indianapolis drug market. The Drug Enforcement Administration says two milligrams of fentanyl is enough to cause an overdose — that means the four pounds seized in the raids would be enough to kill half a million people.
All but one of the defendants is in custody, with one arrested in Las Vegas.
17 of the 19 defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and methamphetamine, a charge which carries 10 years to life in prison. Two defendants face lesser charges of possession or using a cell phone for illegal activity.
Most of the defendants are from Indianapolis, with three from Greenwood, Bloomfield and Spencer.