Heroin Ringleader Sentenced to Life in Prison

Keith Ricks, the leader of a heroin ring that distributed across Cleveland's eastside, was sentenced this week to life in prison. “This defendant led a group responsible for thefts, violence and the distribution of dozens of pounds of heroin,” U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said.

Ricks organized a network that brought heroin into Northeast Ohio from Atlanta. Former Scene writer Doug Brown chronicled the bust in 2013, detailing Ricks' involvement in Cleveland and elsewhere.

By the time [Ricks'] name landed on a wiretap, he'd been flying regularly (first-class, according to his Twitter account), between Marietta, Georgia, and his mother's house on East 118th, where he would take care of business locally.

He was the big mind of the group with ideas that went beyond parochial beefs or boundaries. Ricks would organize other east Cleveland dealers to pool their money together for unified, large-scale purchases at wholesale prices down South and then distribute the product back home, dealers free to rake in bigger profits on the street level.

Ricks' social media accounts played a major role in the investigation. 

About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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