News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 28, 2013

May trial for defendants in jailhouse drug ring

Lisa Trigg
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — A May 20 trial has been set for multiple defendants in a multi-state methamphetamine and cocaine ring organized by a convicted felon in prison.

Twelve defendants appeared Wednesday morning in U.S. District Court in Terre Haute where Magistrate Craig McKee also set detention hearings for Monday morning.

Wesley “FeFe” Hammond, 42, the alleged leader of the organization, remains incarcerated in Indiana State Prison at Michigan City pending transport for a federal court hearing.

Co-defendants Ivan Vanburen, 48, of Corona, Calif., and Jordan Daniels, 19, of Terre Haute, are currently incarcerated in California awaiting transport to Indiana for a hearing in the case.

Appearing for court hearings Wednesday were Roxanne Frakes, 23; Kelly Oxendine, 45; Brittany Sibande, 27; Yolanda Dillard, 41; DeWayne Perry, 40; Kelley Kelly, 49; Calvin Brown, 34; Shocka Hammond, 24; Ray Hashi Rivera, 34; and Ronald Roberts, 47; all of Terre Haute, and Jason McDonald, 19, of Wichita Falls, Texas.

They were all charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine and cocaine. They all face a prison sentence of 10 years to life if they are convicted. Six defendants face life imprisonment without chance for parole because of their extensive criminal histories, and many defendants also qualify for sentencing enhancements because of their “career offender” status.

Hammond was sentenced in July 2011 to life in prison without parole for his leadership in another methamphetamine trafficking organization based in Terre Haute that he operated while incarcerated in another Indiana prison. He used smuggled cell phones to run the conspiracy’s daily operations from his prison cell.

The latest indictment alleges that Hammond again began using a smuggled cell phone in his prison cell in December 2012 to organize a drug trafficking ring in the Wabash Valley.

Vanburen, a California resident, was the source of the methamphetamine and cocaine shipped to Indiana-based distributors, who then provided the drugs to Terre Haute traffickers.

Public defenders were appointed for the defendants in court Wednesday, pending review of their financial ability to hire defense attorneys. They are all scheduled to return to court Monday for detention hearings to determine whether each defendant will remain incarcerated until his or her trial date.



Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or  lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.