Multi-state drug dealer sentenced in Muskingum County

Staff report

Deangelo Tellis

Deangelo Tellis

MUSKINGUM COUNTY — After an investigation spanning four years, 17 defendants, six narcotics trap houses, 10 state and federal law enforcement agencies and 18 months of litigation, the leader of a multi-state drug operation was convicted and sentenced to 16 and-a-half to 22 years in prison Tuesday morning in the Muskingum County Common Pleas Court.

The case presented a unique challenge uncommon in drug cases as Tellis was never actually caught or seen physically possessing any drugs.

Members of the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force and Zanesville / Muskingum County Drug Unit began their investigation into Deangelo Tellis, known on the streets as “D Lo,” and his girlfriend, Victoria Barrientos in 2018.

Tellis, of Columbus, recruited four brothers and former members of the F.O.R. gang to travel to Zanesville and sell drugs for him and Victoria Barrientos. Two of the brothers were juveniles at the time, the other two, Kazion Coleman and Kascal Armour, were adults. The group left Columbus after gangland shootings and coined themselves “Waun” gang, a reference to their brother who was shot and killed by notorious Columbus gangland figure Calvin Fluellen.

Tellis set each brother up in homes where he distributed narcotics, including 129, 123, and 119 Corwin Ave., the center of their operations, 317 Brighton Blvd., 409 Mead St., 427 Schaum Ave., 38 Green St., 1844 Ridge Ave. and a location off Moxahala Avenue.

During the course of Tellis’ conspiracy, he moved hundreds of pounds of methamphetamine, fentanyl, cocaine and other drugs.

As law enforcement built its case on Tellis by catching his subordinates, Tellis expanded his operations regionally.

Kascal “CT” Armour moved some of Tellis’ distribution operations to Lima, where he was caught and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.

Benjamin Nash brought Tellis’ operations to the Portsmouth and West Virginia markets, where he is currently facing charges.

Kazion Coleman and his girlfriend, Naomi Becker, were caught selling small quantities of fentanyl in Zanesville and sentenced to six years and three years in prison, respectively.

Raymone Jackson was caught selling methamphetamine for Tellis on several occasions and sentenced to 16 to 21 and-a-half years. His girlfriend, Carmencita Ramos-Sims, received a 10-month sentence for renting vehicles for the drug dealer and assisting his operations. Victoria Barrientos similarly received an 18-month sentence for her role in laundering money for her paramour.

Timothy Thomas was caught selling substantial quantities of Tellis’ fentanyl, and he faces sentencing at a future date with a recommended sentence between eight and 12 years.

Later, the investigation of the disappearance and death of Justen Titmen led general case, drug unit, and CODE detectives to target activities at 317 Brighton Blvd. Investigations there resulted in charges against wanted fugitive Talik “Leek” Lee, of Columbus; Tyler Kinchen, who is serving 21 to 26 and-a-half years in prison; Vada McQueary, who faces sentencing at a later date; James “D Rose” Johnson, who is soon expected to be sentenced to six years of incarceration and wanted fugitive Trece “Tre 8” Reynolds, who pleaded guilty to numerous charges and faces up to 17 years of imprisonment.

In January of 2021, Tellis traveled to Los Angeles where he arranged to resupply his drug operation and purchased 22 pounds of methamphetamine and a kilo (2.2 pounds) of fentanyl. Tellis used two individuals who thought they were transporting marijuana to drive the narcotics across the country while he flew home to Victoria.

Law enforcement was able to intercept Tellis’s shipment in Kansas, and to catch Tellis’s lieutenant Trece Reynolds in the act of retrieving the drugs once they were dropped off in Ohio.

As referenced earlier, one unique aspect of this case is the fact that Tellis was never actually caught physically possessing drugs. His conviction was possible for a number of reasons.

First, Ohio law defines possession of drugs to include “joint possession,” as well as “constructive possession.” Those concepts involve the fact that more than one person can possess an item, so long as they are both able to direct and control the item independently. Constructive possession refers to the type of possession a person has when they own and control an object, even though they might not have that object physically with them.

Tellis was also convicted of the crime of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. That crime involves participation with one or more other persons in more than one crime involving the same criminal motives. There is a broad range of offenses that qualify. For instance, when Tellis and Barrientos purchased the house at 129 Corwin Street, they paid $9,999. Purchasing real estate to promote corrupt activity is money laundering, as is structuring a transaction to shield certain reporting requirements.

The Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office would like to thank the following entities for their assistance and participation in the case against Tellis’ gang and their ongoing involvement in cleaning up its remnants: Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force, Zanesville / Muskingum County Drug Unit, Zanesville Police Department General Case, United States Drug Enforcement Agency, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Kansas Highway Patrol, Columbus Police Department Criminal Intelligence Unit, UnitedStates Postal Inspector’s Service, United States Post Office, United States Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, United States Marshals Service, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force Crime Lab.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Litle, who handled the case, said that it was “a real pleasure working this case with our outstanding local drug investigators and our federal partners. This was a tough, complex case with many moving parts all across the country.”

Achieving convictions against the highest level individuals who profit off poison is not possible in every jurisdiction. Some counties have elected prosecutors who forbid the use of low level drug offenders as informants. Policies of that nature make a conviction like Tellis’s impossible and leave only street-level dealers subject to criminal punishment.

Tellis’ sentence reflects the community standards held by the citizens and elected officials of Muskingum County. There is no tolerance for drug dealing here, and this county is no place to set up or operate a narcotics dealing operation. There is zero tolerance in this county for the idea that drug dealing is a harmless transaction or one which is less severe because addicted persons “choose” to use drugs. Instead, by selling drugs in this county, a person “chooses” to go to prison for a very long time.

Deangelo Tellis Tellis

Staff report