News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 26, 2013

U.S. Attorney Hogsett: Suspect ran drug ring from prison cell

Staff Report
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Law enforcement officials turned out in force today to announce the busting of an alleged Wabash Valley methamphetamine and cocaine ring orchestrated from a state prison cell.

Local, state and federal law enforcement officials announced the arrest early this morning of 15 people accused of dealing cocaine and meth in the area.

The alleged ring leader of the operation is Wesley Hammond, an inmate of the state prison in Michigan City. Hammond is serving a life sentence without parole on a conviction for methamphetamine trafficking in the Terre Haute area.

Hammond allegedly ran the drug ring using cell phones smuggled into his prison cell, said U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett, speaking this afternoon at a multi-police agency news conference at the Terre Haute Police Department headquarters.

When Hammond was “rousted” from his cell this morning, he allegedly had two cell phones in his possession, Hogsett said.

“If you live here in Terre Haute and you are called by Wesley Hammond … don’t answer the phone call,” Hogsett warned.

Of the 14 other arrests made this morning, 13 of the suspects are from Terre Haute, according to information provided at the news conference. Another suspect, Ivan Vanburen, 48, is a resident of California.

Steps are being taken to prevent Hammond from obtaining cell phones, Hogsett said, adding that officials in the Indiana Department of Correction cooperated in the case and were integral to the arrests being made.

See Wednesday’s Tribune-Star and www.tribstar.com for more details.