Authorities seized around $100,000 worth of cocaine during a traffic stop on the Ohio Turnpike in Lake Township Wednesday morning.
The driver of the car, Robert D. Hammond, 29, of Akron, and his passenger, Eric M. Strickland, 45, of Chicago, were arrested and charged with drug abuse and drug trafficking.
The State Highway Patrol reports a drug-sniffing canine alerted troopers to the car after authorities stopped the vehicle for a marked lanes violation. Authorities found a kilo of cocaine inside a shoe box in the car's trunk.
Troopers say the men were in a rented 2013 Toyota Camry with an Illinois registration.
If convicted, the men could face up to 20 years in prison and up to a $40,000 fine.
The indictment of five Canton men brings the total number of people involved in an alleged cocaine ring in that city to 22.
The U.S. Attorney's Office announced the indictment Thursday in Canton.
Mike Tobin, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Cleveland, says the operation brought crack and powder cocaine up from Columbus to two men, and then eventually to the streets of Canton.
"It would come up from Columbus to Canton, where it usually made its way to two people, a man named Jasmine Watkins, or another man named Jerry Gordon," Tobin tells AkronNewsNow.com.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says Watkins has already pleaded guilty and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Tobin says drugs are often accompanied by violence, and that authorities are still investigating if the cocaine ring suspects are linked to shootings and other street violence in Canton.
22 year-old Jamail Cortez Mitchell, 24 year-old Chad Irvin Tucker, 23 year-old Cruz M. Brown, 28 year-old Jermaine E. Gaitor and 57 year-old Kevin Slater were all arrested this Thursday morning.
An earlier indictment named 17 people, and Tobin says all but two of the 22 were arrested by Thursday afternoon.
An Akron man is listed in serious condition at Akron City Hospital after suffering gunshot wounds while playing video games.
Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards says Dennis Withrow, 28, of Brittain Road, told police he was shot by three masked male suspects while playing video games with two other men at about 4 p.m. Monday afternoon.
Edwards says Withrow told them the suspects forced their way into the apartment in the 1200 block of Brittain Road and opened fire.
"The shooting remains under investigation and no suspects have been identified," Edwards said.
The two males who were playing video games with Withrow were charged with possession of cocaine.
"They were charged after officers recovered over 100 grams of cocaine, both inside the apartment and outside the apartment in a flower pot," Edwards said.
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