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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Ohio
For Immediate Release
Michelle M. Baeppler, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-ndoh
Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Member of 8Ave Street Gang Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Prison After Conviction of Distributing Narcotics and Illegal Possession of Firearm

CLEVELAND – Kindell Smith, 32, of Cleveland, was sentenced today to more than 12 years – or 146 months – in prison by U.S. District Judge Pamela A. Barker. Judge Barker pronounced the sentence after Smith, a member of the “8Ave” street gang known to operate in the city of Cleveland’s 5th District, was convicted of participating in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, crack cocaine and illegal possession of a firearm.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, on April 14, 2020, law enforcement officers with the Southeast Area Law Enforcement (SEALE) began an investigation into the 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 on a prior date, distributing fentanyl 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.

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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