Alleged gang member pleads guilty in drug trafficking case

Brandon Lee “Ace” Smith, 30, has been incarcerated for about 33 months since his arrest in September 2012 as prosecutors and his attorneys addressed his intellect and competency to stand trial.

Wearing Butler County Jail clothing and while sitting in a wheelchair — he said he tore his Achilles heel playing basketball — Smith answered, “Guilty” when asked for his plea by U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice.

Smith’s attorney, John Cunningham, advocated for a sentence of time served when Smith is sentenced Sept. 3. Cunningham said that 33 to 41 months is the non-binding sentencing range for someone with Smith’s criminal history.

Assistant U.S. prosecutors Brent Tabacchi and Alex Sistla said discretion can be used about whether or not to indict defendants with crimes that include mandatory minimums because of the Smart on Crime Initiative reforms introduced in August 2013.

Prosecutors dropped language that said the crimes included more than 100 grams of heroin. That classification would have necessitated a minimum five-year sentence.

Rice said he was inclined to allow Smith to be released from bond and to live with his grandmother in Dayton with a curfew before his sentencing date. Rice accepted the plea of guilty and said he would recommend a sentence of time served to the Bureau of Prisons.

The other defendants received varying sentences for their part in the conspiracy, including several drug buys as detailed in a criminal complaint written by FBI special agent David McMullen.

  • Quinton “Big Mike” Clemons received a sentence of 7 years and 8 months and 100 hours community service.
  • Leo “Butter” Boykins got a sentence of 5 years and 100 hours community service.
  • Quinten “Q” Robinson was sentenced to 21 months and served about a year. Since then, Robinson violated the terms of his post-release control by having four positive marijuana tests and being sent to NOVA House, a halfway house.
  • Marcus “Roscoe” Ross got a sentence of three years’ probation and 100 hours community service.

On Sept. 19, 2012, area law enforcement officials raided five homes and arrested men that Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said were members of the Diamond Cut street gang which had a “deep history of narcotics trafficking, gun violence and conflict related to rival gangs in the area.”

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