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Outline code words used by couple in drug trafficking case

March 31, 2011
By CHRISTOPHER BOBBY Tribune Chronicle

 
WARREN - Accused drug dealers used code words like ''the plane has landed'' to let associates know they arrived back in town from Detroit with cocaine and heroin.

According to informants who have testified against Frederick Johnson and Brandi Lynn Watson, the couple also referred to the cocaine as ''the girl'' and the heroin as ''the boy.''

One of the informants, Kenneth Cook, testified Wednesday that he used his ATV on Jan. 15, 2010, to search the neighborhood for drug agents who may have known about the latest delivery from Detroit that was ready to be distributed to middle-level dealers who were allegedly supplied by Johnson, 40, and Watson, 27.

Cook has admitted to a drug charge and is awaiting sentencing after cooperating with and testifying for the prosecution against Johnson and Watson, who face first-degree felony charges of heroin possession and second-degree felony charges of cocaine possession.

The pair was working out of a house on Wallace Street S.E. that was under surveillance by agents with Trumbull Ashtabula Group (TAG) Law Enforcement Task Force, according to authorities.

The 400 grams of heroin and 4.5 ounces of cocaine that Warren police and TAG agents found thrown from a car prosecutors say Johnson was driving constitute a special ''major drug offender'' enhancement that could add an additional 10 years to a prison sentence if either defendant is convicted.

Johnson and Watson are being tried together, but with separate attorneys, in the courtroom of Judge Peter Kontos. Mark Lavelle is representing Johnson, and Jeff Limbian is Watson's attorney.

Detective Rick Tackett, who served as lead investigator on the case, is expected to testify as early as today about how the investigation got under way along with Detective Fred Raines, who gained certain admissions from Watson after she was taken to Trumbull County Jail following a high speed chase through the streets of Warren.

According to testimony, no police or TAG agents clearly spotted Johnson driving the car or Watson as the passenger in the front seat. Both occupants got out of the vehicle during the chase.

Wednesday's testimony included accounts of the chase by TAG agents and Warren police.

Crime scientists with Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation also testified about finding no fingerprints on any of the confiscated drugs that were found in front yards of Chestnut Street N.E. and Belvedere Avenue.

BCI forensic experts also authenticated the drugs and the amounts of the drugs found and that the .40 caliber pistol also thrown out of the car during the chase was operable.


 
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01/27/2014