Man wanted in Middletown ‘drug ring’ investigation killed in Cincinnati shooting

Marqui Conley, 26, of Middletown, is wanted by the Cincinnati FBI.
Marqui Conley, 26, of Middletown, is wanted by the Cincinnati FBI.

A Middletown man who was the subject of a manhunt for months was killed Monday afternoon in Cincinnati, according to police there.

Marqui Conley, 26, already had a gunshot wound when he drove a car into a house in the 500 block of Flatt Terrace, according to our news partner WCPO-TV. He was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The incident happened at about 12:38 p.m.

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Conley had been the subject of an FBI search since May, when federal investigators linked him to a Middletown-based drug ring. Authorities tracked Conley’s luxury car to the garage of a Springboro home.

“The fact that the 2016 Mercedes Benz is within the garage at the target location gives me reason to believe that other assets are within and that evidence of the crime, such as the location of Marqui Conley or perhaps Marqui Conley himself, are also contained within the target location,” investigators wrote in the May search warrant.

Conley wasn’t there, and Middletown police Maj. Scott Reeve said he was forwarded a Snapchat message apparently written by Conley, which in part it read, “Now time to log off snap and get low!! Catch me if you kan!!!!!!”

MORE: ‘Catch me if you kan!!!!!’: How a drug ring investigation turned into a manhunt in Middletown

Federal court documents used to build a case against suspects allegedly running a “drug ring” say that at least two men with long criminal histories in the Middletown area also were part of a murder-for-hire plot for those in competition.

In May, federal indictments were announced against Benwan Edwards, 25, of Miamisburg; Conley (also known as “Keyman”) of Middletown; Joseph Lee Singletary Jr. (aka “Joker”); Will Dan Owens V of Middletown; Hailey Perry Meeks of Middletown; and Tyrese Antonio Robinson (aka “Moneybags”).

All are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to possess and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. Edwards, Owens and Meeks were taken into custody in May, but the U.S. Marshals and local police continued to look for Conley and the others.

In 2011, Conley, then 18, was sentenced to five years in prison for killing a man he intentionally ran down with a car. He pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of 20-year-old TaShawn Smiley as part of a plea deal before a Butler County grand jury could consider a murder charge against him.

Common Pleas Judge Andrew Nastoff gave Conley the maximum sentence.

Middletown police said Conley was driving a green Chevrolet Malibu when he ran over Smiley, who was riding his bicycle, on June 19, 2010. Conley, then 17, sped away but was arrested later based on evidence taken off the car and charged in January. His case was bound over from county Juvenile Court so he could be tried as an adult.

Anyone with information about Conley’s death should contact Cincinnati homicide investigators at 513-352-3542.