CLEVELAND (WJW) — Three men were recently indicted and arrested on charges of drug trafficking in Cleveland, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
The following suspects were arrested, officials said:
- Christopher Ficklin, Cleveland Heights
- Robert Atkinson, Cleveland
- David Gomez-Orrantio, arrested in New Mexico
Officials said the men are accused of taking part in an operation that brought cocaine from Mexico to Cleveland. At least $13 million in proceeds were sent to Mexico with reportedly more than 1,100 pounds of cocaine coming to Cleveland.
In summer 2020, Ficklin allegedly arranged for cocaine to be brought to a warehouse he owned in Cleveland. The drugs were then distributed to Atkinson and others.
With the arrests, which took place over the weekend at the U.S./Mexico border and in the Cleveland area Tuesday, officials said a drug pipeline has been shutdown after years of efforts between local and national law enforcement agencies.
“Organizations like this that target communities like Cleveland because they mistakenly assume they can operate either without detection or without people speaking up,” Acting United States Attorney Michelle Baeppler said in the press conference Tuesday. “To those drug traffickers both foreign and domestic who think our communities are open for business know we are watching and we are paying attention. We will act and we will not stand for this.”
Gomez-Orrantio, who is allegedly connected to a drug cartel, reportedly had $20,000 on him when he was arrested at the border. Atkinson was reportedly found to have about 20 pounds of cocaine at his home when he was arrested.
You can watch the entire press conference in the video above.