News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 28, 2013

Two convicted in drug ring run from prison

The Tribune-Star

INDIANAPOLIS — Two convicts who were involved in a drug trafficking ring from behind bars have been convicted and sentenced to federal prison as part of a statewide prosecution involving 40 suspects.

Russell Yerden, 45, was sentenced to 27 years, three months, and Michael Foley, 32, was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison, according to a press release. U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker presided.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry D. Glickman, who is prosecuting this case for the government, both defendants were also sentenced to years of federally supervised release at the end of their prison terms.

“This prosecution involves allegations that, for more than a year, inmates orchestrated an illicit business from their prison cells that flooded the state with dangerous drugs,” U.S. Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett said.

According to the charging document filed in 2012, the drug trafficking operation was largely run by Oscar Perez, 27, a prisoner who was then incarcerated at the Westville Control Unit in Westville. He was assisted by Justin “Big J” Addler, who was then incarcerated at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle. The indictment also alleges drug trafficking between Addler and Charles Cole, 40, an inmate in the Pendleton Correctional Facility.

Yerden and Foley were charged with conspiring with Perez, Addler and Cole  to possess methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it. The indictment cites telephone conversations between Yerden and other drug traffickers discussing the transportation of methamphetamine from Elkhart to Indianapolis.

The indictment alleges that Perez and Addler would use smuggled cell phones to oversee purchases of methamphetamine from suppliers in California.

Those drugs would then be shipped to Indiana through the mail or with couriers. At times with the assistance of a corrections officer, they would then smuggle those drugs, cell phones and other materials to inmates within the Indiana Department of Corrections.

The indictment also describes drug trafficking within Indiana communities, including Indianapolis, Noblesville, Crawfordsville, Lafayette, New Castle and Elkhart. That trafficking included the purchase and sale of methamphetamine, heroin, PCP and/or LSD.