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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Southern District of Ohio
Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 14, 2024

Jury Finds Dayton Men Guilty on All Counts in Case Involving Murder of DEA Task Force Officer

DAYTON, Ohio — A federal jury has convicted two Dayton men on all counts in a case involving the 2019 death of Dayton Police Detective and DEA Task Force Officer Jorge DelRio.

Nathan Goddard, 44, was found guilty of murder. He and Cahke Cortner, 44, were also found guilty of multiple narcotics and firearms crimes. Goddard was found guilty of seven total counts and Cortner of four.

The verdict was announced today following a trial that began on Feb. 26 before U.S. District Judge Michael J. Newman.

“Task Force Officer Jorge DelRio dedicated his life to protecting the great people of Dayton and DEA will be forever grateful that his passion for narcotics enforcement led him to us,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram.  “TFO DelRio was a mentor and coach to many in law enforcement, and so much more at home as a husband, a father and a friend. Our hearts are heavy tonight after reliving the events of Nov. 7, 2019, but more determined than ever to continue our mission of keeping Americans safe in his honor. We will never forget his sacrifice.”

“We stand with the DelRio family and our law enforcement partners, and we recognize that DEA Task Force Officer Jorge DelRio sacrificed his life to protect this community. We will never forget his ultimate sacrifice,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “This case is a reminder that, as public servants, law enforcement officers do a dangerous job every day. Today’s guilty verdicts should also serve as a reminder to perpetrators of violent crime that we see these matters through to the end and we will hold you accountable.”

“The Dayton Police Department is pleased to see that the jury has found Nathan Goddard and Cahke Cortner guilty in the tragic shooting of Detective Jorge DelRio,” said Dayton Police Chief Kamran Afzal. “This verdict marks a significant step towards closure for Detective DelRio's loved ones, our department and our community. We extend our gratitude to the U.S. Attorney's Office for their diligent efforts throughout this case. It is imperative that those who inflict harm in our community are held accountable, and we anticipate that the sentencing will reflect this principle.”

“Today’s verdict clearly illustrates the resolve of the federal government, state and local law enforcement, to hold accountable anyone who chooses to undermine the rule of law. It also brings some semblance of closure to the DelRio family,” said DEA Detroit Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene. “TFO Jorge DelRio made the ultimate sacrifice serving Dayton, a city to which he dedicated more than 30 years of his life as a law enforcement professional. TFO DelRio’s courage and dedication to the City of Dayton, the State of Ohio and the country will never be forgotten.”

“While we all continue to mourn the death of Detective Jorge DelRio, this verdict is an important step forward, holding accountable those who are responsible for his death,” stated FBI Cincinnati Acting Special Agent in Charge Cheryl Mimura. “Detective DelRio is a hero who gave his life protecting the community and he will never be forgotten.”

“These individuals are responsible for the death of Detective Jorge DelRio, who was working to keep our community safe from dangerous drug traffickers,” stated Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s Columbus Field Division. “As a Dayton Police Detective and DEA Task Force Officer, Det. DelRio was a selfless hero who gave his all, and ultimately his life, to protect the citizens of this nation. ATF is honored to have played a role in holding to account those responsible for Det. DelRio’s sacrifice. I hope this verdict brings some measure of closure to the family of Det. DelRio and sends a message to criminals that law enforcement will be relentless in our pursuit of justice.”

According to court documents and trial testimony, on Nov. 4, 2019, Goddard murdered Det. DelRio while Det. DelRio and others were executing a federal search warrant at 1454 Ruskin Road in Dayton.

During the execution of the search warrant, Det. DelRio and other officials announced themselves and entered the home at approximately 6:50pm. Det. DelRio descended the stairway to the basement of the residence, immediately came under gunfire from the basement, and was struck and killed.

As the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, from 2018 until November 2019, Goddard and Cortner participated in a narcotics conspiracy involving kilograms of fentanyl, cocaine and marijuana. The defendants kept firearms – including handguns fitted with laser sights – to protect the illegal drugs and their illicit proceeds.

In the residence they used, officials discovered 10 kilograms of fentanyl and cocaine, 50 to 60 pounds of marijuana and more than $55,000 in cash.

Goddard and Cortner were originally charged in this case on Nov. 6, 2019, and were charged by superseding indictment in July 2022.

Goddard was convicted of murdering a federal law enforcement officer who was engaged in the performance of official duties, which is punishable by up to life in prison. He was also convicted of three counts of federal narcotics crimes (10 years up to life in prison), one count of intentionally killing someone while engaged in a drug crime (20 years up to life in prison), one count of discharging a firearm resulting in murder (10 years up to life in prison) and during a drug trafficking crime (10 years up to life in prison) and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon (up to 10 years in prison).

Cortner was convicted of two counts of federal narcotics crimes (10 years up to life in prison), one count of participating in a drug trafficking crime that caused death (20 years up to life in prison) and one count of using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Their co-defendant Lionel Combs III, 45, pleaded guilty just before the start of trial to maintaining a drug premises, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Congress sets the minimum and maximum statutory sentences. Sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the Court at future hearings based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Dayton Police Chief Kamran Afzal; Orville O. Greene, Special Agent in Charge, DEA; Cheryl Mimura, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Cincinnati Division; Daryl S. McCormick, Special Agent in Charge, ATF; and Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck, Jr. announced today’s verdict. U.S. Attorney Parker recognized the critical assistance of the Criminal Interdiction Team of Central Oklahoma.

Deputy Criminal Chief Brent G. Tabacchi, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy M. Smith and Christina E. Mahy, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Claypoole from the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office are representing the U.S. in this case.


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