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Donte Holdbrook: 7 things to know about the alleged Middletown drug ringleader

Donte Holdbrook has had more than two dozen brushes with local law enforcement, including misdemeanor drug charges going back to 2012.

Holdbrook, 24, is the alleged ringleader of a drug trafficking organization that supplied dealers with fentanyl and heroin in Middletown and throughout southern Ohio.

FIRST REPORT: 12 charged in alleged drug ring that operated from Mexico to Middletown

Holdbrook’s drug trafficking organization had ties to the notorious Sinaloa Drug Cartel in Mexico that was led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is in federal custody awaiting trial on multiple charges, according to federal officials.

Donte Holdbrook

MORE: A Middletown apartment was a central location for international drug distribution, according to indictments

Here are 7 things to know about Donte Holdbrook:

1. Holdbrook was member of Middies varsity football, basketball teams

Holdbrook, a 2012 graduate of Middletown High School, was a wide receiver and was also a punter on the 2010 and 2011 varsity football teams and played at guard for the basketball team.

He was named to the first team all Greater Miami Conference football team.

Middletown's Donte Holdbrook (left) catches a pass during a 2010 game against Hamilton.
Photo: SAMANTHA GRIER/2010

2. Holdbrook played with future pro athletes

Holdbrook caught touchdown passes from then-quarterback Jalin Marshall, who went on to play at The Ohio State University on the 2014 National Championship team and for the NFL’s New York Jets.

Another player on those teams was Kyle Schwarber, who went on to Indiana University as a baseball player and was a member of the World Champion Chicago Cubs.

Holdbrook was also a guard on the basketball team that featured Marshall and Vincent Edwards, who is currently a member of the Purdue Boilermakers that made it to the Sweet Sixteen round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

3. Holdbrook’s brushes with law enforcement began after graduation

According to Middletown Municipal Court records, Holdbrook, a 2012 graduate of Middletown High School, had his first brush with police in December 2012 with three drug charges.

MORE: Apartment manager on accused drug ring member: ‘I just thought he was a stoner, a pothead’

4. Holdbrook allegedly coordinated the drug distribution

A federal indictment alleges that “fentanyl, heroin and other narcotic substances were processed, cut, packaged and stored prior to distribution to members of the conspiracy and/or customers, in safe locations, known as stash houses, located in and around the city of Middletown, Ohio, and elsewhere in the Southern District of Ohio.”

5. Feds: Holdbrook had enough fentanyl to kill thousands

A fatal dose of fentanyl is about 2 to 3 milligrams, which is the size of Lincoln’s forehead on a penny, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Holdbrook allegedly had about 369 grams of fentanyl when stopped by police, which would be more than 122,987 fatal doses, according to court records.

MORE: 7 interesting details learned from the unsealed indictment that alleges a drug ring operating in Middletown

6. Holdbrook allegedly smuggled cash to Mexican drug cartel

Holdbrook smuggled large amounts of bulk cash back to Mexico, according to court records. Transactions ranged from $25,000 to more than $180,000.

Between $1 million and $10 million in cash was laundered through the operation, federal officials said.

7. Mexican ID found in Holdbrook’s truck links back to 2017 drug bust

The person whose ID was found in Holdbrook’s truck was involved in a separate traffic interdiction in 2017 in Cincinnati.

In that incident, authorities seized about $182,000 in cash that was believed to include proceeds from illegal drug trafficking.

The federal agents investigating that drug seizure said that person had communicated with Holdbrook’s telephone number.

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