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6 Northeast Ohioans charged for roles in international fentanyl trafficking operation

Brigadier General Italian National Police representative Lorenzo Bucossi speaks during a news conference Nov. 14, 2023.
Stephen Langel
Ideastream Public Media
Brigadier General Italian National Police representative Lorenzo Bucossi speaks during a news conference Nov. 14, 2023.

Six Northeast Ohioans are facing charges for their roles in an international drug trafficking and money laundering organization with ties as far as Italy.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the charges Tuesday, noting that 11 people are charged in a 34-count indictment stemming from an operation that involved the import of fentanyl, synthetic opioids and synthetic cannabinoids into the U.S.

Officials said those drugs were distributed across Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee and other states.

The eleven people facing charges are:

  • Brian Lumbus, Jr., AKA B, 43, of Cleveland, Ohio
  • Giancarlo Miserotti, AKA Karl, 51, of Italy
  • Brianna Lumbus, 22, of Cleveland, Ohio
  • Kayla S. Goudlock, 25, of North Royalton, Ohio
  • Jennifer Robinson, 38, of Tennessee
  • Latasha Harris, 40, of Toledo, Ohio
  • Dominique Hammond, 37, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Wanda Ward, 46, of Johnson City, Tennessee
  • Marchello Lumbus, AKA Chello, 42, of Cleveland, Ohio
  • Jessica Cochran, 28, of Lorain, Ohio
  • Braisia Lumbus, 23, of Cleveland, Ohio

U.S. Attorney Rebecca Lutzko said Brian Lumbus Jr. orchestrated the operation from prison from April 2013 to Nov. 1, 2023. Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction records show Lumbus Jr. is incarcerated at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville on a range of charges dating from 2013 to 2020 including theft, drug trafficking and identity theft.

Lumbus Jr. allegedly ordered "significant quantities" of drug mixtures and substances from Miserotti, who resides in Italy, according to the DOJ. Miserotti allegedly arranged for kilogram quantities of the drugs to be exported from several foreign countries to Italy, then to the U.S. for distribution by others in the trafficking group. Other members of the conspiracy allegedly used Bitcoin to pay Miserotti for the drugs.

"He had enlisted the help of several others to do what he physically could not do — obtain, assemble and repackage drugs that he ordered and then mail or deliver them to other co-conspirators for further distribution on our streets," Lutzko said during a news conference Tuesday.

Investigators within ODRC discovered the operation and alerted the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Lutzko added, Lumbus's 22-year-old daughter, Brianna, was among those charged.

"Brianna and others cut and prepared the drugs for distribution," Lutzko said. "They then either mailed or delivered the drugs to other drug trafficking co-conspirators to deliver and redistribute in Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee."

Authorities said at least one death in Tennessee is tied to the drugs. Investigators are unsure how Lumbus and Miserotti met.

The DOJ said all 11 individuals are charged in the conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. Six defendants were also charged with substantive possession with intent to distribute controlled substances offenses. Nine were charged with interstate travel in aid of racketeering and eight were charged in an international money laundering conspiracy. Nine were charged with using a communications facility to facilitate a felony drug offense.

Several of the defendants were arrested Tuesday morning and transported to federal court in Cleveland, while others are in custody elsewhere, including Italy.

Stephen Langel is a health reporter with Ideastream Public Media's engaged journalism team.
Stephanie Metzger-Lawrence is a digital producer for the engaged journalism team at Ideastream Public Media.