COLUMBIA — Five men, including four from Columbia, were indicted Thursday on charges related to distributing heroin, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Missouri.
The Thursday indictments stemmed from three separate cases, according to the release.
In the first case, Ravid Donald Smith, 49, Lemont Michael Livingston, 26, and Clifford Andrew Lake, 53, all of Columbia, were charged with one count each of participating in a conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin.
According to an affidavit filed for the case, police learned that Livingston obtained large amounts of heroin in St. Louis and, along with the two other men, distributed heroin in the Columbia area.
On Oct. 28, officers learned that Livingston was returning from Chicago with a heroin shipment, according to the affidavit.
He was detained upon returning to his home, where officers had previously conducted a controlled buy of $150 worth of heroin, according to the release. Police found 200 grams of heroin in a backpack inside the car Livingston drove, and in the home they found a stolen handgun, drug paraphernalia and a drug ledger.
Lake was present during the search and was also arrested, according to the release.
Police learned Smith had also returned to Columbia with heroin. They arrested him on the same day after conducting a controlled buy of heroin from him.
In the second case, Markielle Avion Anderson, 26, of Columbia was charged with one count of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
According to the affidavit filed for the case, Anderson was arrested after police conducted a controlled drug transaction on Oct. 7. Officers discovered about 10 grams of heroin and a loaded handgun in his car, according to the release.
Anderson has two prior felony convictions for driving under a revoked license, and it is illegal under federal law for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to own a firearm or ammunition.
In the third case, Laron Christopher Nesbitt, Jr., 19, of Calumet City, Ill., was charged with one count of possessing heroin with the intent to distribute.
On Oct 7., police conducted a controlled drug transaction and arrested Nesbitt, who had 12 grams of heroin in his pocket, according to the release, citing the affidavit filed for the case.
Each indictment replaced a federal criminal complaint, according to the release.
The U.S. Attorney's Office files a criminal complaint to make an arrest before a case presented to a federal grand jury for an indictment, said Don Ledford, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office for the Western District of Missouri. They also file an affidavit, which includes the case's supporting evidence.
In order for an indictment to occur, the grand jury must agree there is sufficient evidence to charge a case, Ledford said.
In all three cases, the charges in the indictments are accusations, not evidence of guilt, according to the release. A federal trial jury will determine guilt or innocence.