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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Southern District of Indiana

For Immediate Release

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney

Contact: Tim Horty
(317) 229-2409; Cell (317) 716-4250

Hogsett Announces Indictment of Five Bloomington–Area Residents on Drug and Gun Charges

More local results from ongoing U.S. Attorney Violent Crime Initiative

BLOOMINGTON — Joseph H. Hogsett, United States Attorney, announced today the indictment of five Bloomington–area residents on federal drug and gun charges. The sixteencount indictment follows an investigation by the Bloomington Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Violent criminal activity such as what has been alleged in this case is unacceptable in Bloomington, or anywhere else in this state, Hogsett said.

This case is a powerful example of how effective federal–local law enforcement collaboration can be.

My office will continue to work with federal and local authorities to investigate and prosecute anyone who promotes violent crime in our neighborhoods, Hogsett added. Working together, we’re taking the ’worst of the worst’ off of Hoosier streets, and I applaud the Bloomington Police Department officers and ATF agents who led this investigation.

The defendants named in the indictment include:

  • • Dennis English, age 24
  • • Thomas Owings, age 29
  • • Courtney Pickett, age 26
  • • Andre Patterson, age 30
  • • Lyssa Aliano, age 19

The indictment alleges that between November and mid–December, 2011, the five defendants conspired to break into a Bloomington–area property that they believed would contain a large quantity of narcotics. The indictment also alleges that in preparation for their criminal activity, four of the five defendants came to illegally possess firearms that they believed would be used in the course of their robbery. Local and federal authorities monitored these activities, and on December 15 interdicted during the alleged robbery attempt, arresting the five defendants.

All five individuals are charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of a detectable amount of cocaine. All five defendants are also charged with the attempted possession of 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, as well as violating the Hobbs Act (robbery). Defendants English, Owings, Pickett, and Patterson also face gun charges relating to their alleged possession of a firearm as previously convicted felons.

When federal agencies partner with local police departments, it helps keep our communities safe, said Group Supervisor Patrick Hand, of the Indianapolis office of ATF. I am proud what our agency and the Bloomington Police Department have accomplished.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Barry D. Glickman, who is prosecuting the case for the government, all five defendants face ten years to life in prison on the charges of conspiring to possess and attempting to possess the cocaine, as well as up to $10 million in fines for each charge. All defendants face up to an additional twenty years for violating the Hobbs Act, and those facing gun charges could face sentences of up to ten years on each count if convicted. Those charges also carry potential fines of up to $250,000 for each count.

A charge is an allegation only, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial or by guilty plea.