Locals Charged In Cocaine Distribution Ring

CLEVELAND (AP) - Seventeen people have been charged in a cocaine ring that authorities said brought hundreds of pounds of the drug to Cleveland.

Two Jamaican men living in Willowick are accused of hauling the cocaine from Houston to sell to Cleveland-area crack dealers. Both pleaded innocent on Wednesday in federal court.

Robert Robinson, 54, and Lenford Brown, 45, are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Prosecutor Roger Bamberger said that Robinson had been flying to Houston once or twice a week for three years to buy three or four kilograms of cocaine per trip.

Robinson and Brown are being held without bond until hearings scheduled for next week. Eight others who pleaded innocent have been released on bond.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)