Drug trafficking ring leader sentenced to 40 years for selling heroin, fentanyl in Northeast Ohio

Drug trafficking ring leader sentenced to 40 years for selling heroin, fentanyl in Northeast Ohio
Joseph Gray Jr. is suspected of leading a drug trafficking ring (Source: WOIO)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The man convicted of selling dangerous drugs throughout Northeast Ohio was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Joseph Gray Jr. pleaded guilty to 22 counts in the drug conspiracy indictment on charges that include distributing controlled substances, possessing controlled substances with the intent to distribute, and possessing a firearm as a felon.

According to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, Gray was responsible for approximately 1.5 kilograms of heroin and fentanyl while leading the drug trafficking ring, as well as nearly a kilogram of crack.

Gray was one of more than 20 suspected drug dealers rounded up by the FBI and DEA during a bust in the Euclid area. He referred to some of his drugs as “casket” quality, meaning it was strong enough to kill users, according to investigators.

Evidence shown during court proceedings linked Gray’s fentanyl used in a fatal drug overdose of a 23-year-old Willowick man in June 2018.

The U.S. District Attorney’s Office says Gray and the co-conspirators used a single “customer phone” available to buyers 24 hours per day.

“This defendant dealt death for profit and celebrated the overdose of people suffering from addiction," U.S. Attorney Justin Herman said. “Every day of this four decade sentence was well-earned by Joseph Gray and this term of imprisonment sends a powerful message to anyone selling heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine: these Ohio neighborhoods belong to us, not you.”

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