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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Ohio
Michelle M. Baeppler, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Member of 8Ave Street Gang Convicted of Distributing Narcotics and Illegal Possession of Firearm

A Cleveland man and member of the “8Ave” street gang known to operate in the city of Cleveland’s 5th District was convicted by a federal jury on Monday, July 11, 2022, of participating in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, crack cocaine and illegal possession of a firearm.

Following a four-day trial, Kindell Smith, 32, of Cleveland, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, two counts of distribution of controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, namely fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime along with being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to court documents, on April 14, 2020, law enforcement officers with the Southeast Area Law Enforcement (SEALE) began an investigation into suspected drug trafficking activities of Smith. As part of the investigation, authorities encountered Smith distributing fentanyl and cocaine near the 3200 block of Central Avenue in Cleveland.

On May 19, 2020, authorities again encountered Smith, this time with codefendants Darrell Douglas and Dreshawn Maddox, who each have been convicted and sentenced at a prior date, distributing heroin from a vehicle. During this encounter, authorities approached the vehicle and ordered the occupants to show their hands. The vehicle then sped away from the scene and struck the driver’s side of a law enforcement vehicle.

Officers removed the occupants from the vehicle and observed Smith attempting to hide a firearm under the driver’s seat. The firearm belonging to Smith was later recovered along with various amounts of fentanyl and crack cocaine.

Smith is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to previous convictions of drug trafficking and felonious assault in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on October 25, 2022, and faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Cleveland Division of Police and the Southeast Area Law Enforcement. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Payum Doroodian and Robert F. Corts.

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