5 local men face federal drug charges in alleged prison drug ring

5 local men face federal drug charges in alleged prison drug ring

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U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman. CONTRIBUTED

Seven men — including five with ties to the Dayton area — face federal charges related to distribution of methamphetamine, said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Benjamin Glassman.

The Sept. 28 indictment unsealed this week alleges the men, including a corrections officer, attempted to deliver methamphetamine to the Chillicothe Correctional Institute for distribution within the state prison.

The indictment charged the following men with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine:

• James Barlage, Jr., 31, of Chillicothe

• Mario Evans, 40, formerly of Dayton

• Edward E. Bellman, 45, formerly of Miamisburg

• Moses M. Stevens, 53, formerly of Xenia

• Jon Christopher Birt, 50, of Dayton

• Jamie L. Naegele, 47, of Brookville

• Anthony Scott Blankenship, 32, of Columbus

Barlage and Blankenship are also charged with one count each of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to Glassman. Conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine are each crimes punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The indictment alleges that Barlage was employed as a corrections officer at Chillicothe Correctional Institute in June and July 2017, according to the press release. At the same time, Evans, Bellman and Stevens were inmates at the prison, Glassman said.

Glassman said Birt would obtain the drugs from his suppliers and he and Naegele would arrange for the delivery of the methamphetamine to the prison.

“The defendants allegedly used at least one unauthorized cell phone within the prison to coordinate payment for the drugs and exchange of the drugs for transportation to CCI,” Glassman said in a press release. “They also allegedly used Western Union to transfer funds for the drugs.”

Glassman said Birt, Barlage and Naegele have been arrested and have made their initial appearances. Arrest warrants were issued for the remaining defendants, Glassman said.

Evans was incarcerated in 1995 after an aggravated robbery, felonious assault, theft and weapons under disability conviction, according to Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction records. Dayton Daily News archives show the man, then 18, pleaded guilty to the charges in connection with shooting a Dayton police officer.

Bellman entered prison in November after a weapons under disability and possession of drugs conviction in Montgomery County, according to prison records. He was also convicted of breaking and entering in Greene County, according to the records.

Stevens is serving time after a 2009 conviction on possession of criminal tools, aggravated robbery and weapon under disability charges, according to prison records.

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