Murder, home invasion, drug charges as 35 indicted

UPDATED STORY: 3 more arrested, double murder suspect still sought

UPDATED STORY: More arrested

GEORGETOWN, DELAWARE (7/3/2015) Charges including murder, robbery, racketeering and drug sales were filed in a major police operation focusing on organized crime in Kent and Sussex counties, authorities announced Thursday.

“Operation in the House” brought the indictments of 35 suspects, with eight of those still being sought by police.

Six of those charged were linked to the shooting deaths of two men in a home invasion robbery near Millsboro in January.

Detectives allege that Steven Kellam, Rhamir Waples, Richard Robinson, Shamir Stratton, Damon Bethea, and Carlton Gibbs operated in a criminal network that targeted specific victims for home invasion robberies to obtain drugs and money, according to Delaware State Police and the Delaware Department of Justice.  The victims targeted were believed to be involved in the distribution of illegal narcotics.

Authorities gave these details:

• Kellam, Waples, Robinson, Stratton, Bethea and Gibbs were charged with the home invasion and murders on Jan. 14,  when Cletis Nelson and William Hopkins were shot on Harmons Hill Road northeast of Millsboro. Rachel Rentoul and Jacquelyn Heverin were charged with robbery related offenses for assisting in the planning of the crime.

• Kellam, Robinson and Waples were charged with a home invasion robbery in the 28000 block of Russell Ave. in the Oak Orchard area on May 18. During this robbery, a 24-year-old man was pistol-whipped.

• Kellam, Robinson and Waples were charged with an attempted home invasion on Aug. 22. During this incident in the 27000 block of Chris Drive in Oak Orchard, a door was kicked in but the intruders fled when the residents blocked the door and called police.

• Kellam, Robinson and Waples were charged with a Dec. 11 home invasion robbery in the 27000 block of Sandy Drive in Oak Orchard. During this incident a 46-year-old man was pistol-whipped and a 56-year-old woman was assaulted.

• Kellam, Robinson and Waples were charged with a Dec. 14 home invasion robbery in the 29000 block of Cordrey Road east of Millsboro. During this incident a 37-year-old man was wounded by gunfire.

The investigation also showed that these suspects had relationships with several individuals heavily involved in the trade of heroin and cocaine in Sussex County, authorities said.

Investigators allege that Jackson Vanvorst of Laurel operated a large distribution network in Sussex and employed John Richardson, Ray Revel, and Cornell Smith. Investigators also alleged that Angelina Levan and James Johnson of Harrington were supplying Vanvorst with large amounts of heroin.

Vanvorst also orchestrated a large shoplifting ring, authorities said, in which he would send drug users to steal pre-determined items from numerous department, hardware and grocery stores, then give these individuals drugs in exchange for the items, and he would in turn sell these items for profit.

Investigators also were able to identify several large-scale cocaine dealers through relationships with the individuals involved in the home invasion robberies, authorities said.

Australia Mackey of Millsboro was alleged to be operating a cocaine network in Sussex County and was allegedly distributing powder and “crack” cocaine to other large-scale drug dealers in Sussex, identified by authorities as Nathan Henry, Aaron Isler, Myricka Sampson, Leondious Gibbs, Corina Lloyd, Samuel Jones, Jermichael Deshields and Thomas Deshields.

The investigation determined that Tavon Biles of Rehoboth Beach and Zachery Bates of Smyrna were supplying Mackey with large amounts of cocaine, authorities said.

ARRESTED

The below individuals were arrested for the charges shown, but not all remain incarcerated except those held on murder charges:

• Steven Kellam, 34, of Dover  – 81 charges – Murder 1st Degree, Attempted Murder 1st Degree, Racketeering, Home Invasion, Robbery 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Conspiracy 1st Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree, Reckless Endangering 1st Degree, Tier 4 Delivery of Narcotics, Wearing a Disguise During the Commission of a Felony. Held without bail.

• Damon Bethea, 30, of Pennsauken, New Jersey  – 22 charges – Murder 1st Degree, Home Invasion, Robbery 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Conspiracy 1st Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree. Held without bail.

• Carlton Gibbs, 40, of Millsboro – 23 charges – Murder 1st Degree, Home Invasion, Robbery 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Conspiracy 1st Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree. Held without bail.

• Jackson Vanvorst, 34, of Laurel– 55 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Heroin, Tier 2 Delivery of Heroin, Tier 4 Delivery of Heroin, Tier 4 PWITD Heroin, Possession of Cocaine, Criminal Solicitation 2nd, Conspiracy 2nd, Delivery of Cocaine, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Delivery of Heroin, Possession of Heroin.

• Australia Mackey, 39, of Millsboro – 62 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Tier 4 Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine, Criminal Solicitation 2nd.

• Tavon Biles, 32, of Rehoboth Beach – 14 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd

• Zackary Bates, 31, of Smyrna – 3 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd

• Angelina Levan, 46, of Harrington – 15 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Heroin, Tier 4 Delivery of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd.

• James Johnson, 45, of Harrington – 6 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Heroin, Tier 4 Delivery of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd

• John E. Richardson, 30, of Georgetown – 7 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Heroin, Tier 4 Delivery of Heroin, Tier 3 Possession of Heroin, Tier 2 Delivery of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd, Maintaining a Drug Property

• Ray Revel, 49, of Laurel – 4 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Heroin, Tier 4 Delivery of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

• Cornell B. Smith, 31, of Millsboro – 5 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Heroin, Tier 4 Delivery of Heroin, Delivery of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd,

• Thomas Deshields, 36, of Millsboro – 10 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine, Delivery of Cocaine, Possession With Intent to Deliver Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd, Criminal Solicitation 2nd Degree

• Jermichael Deshields, 35, of Millsboro – 11 Charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd, Criminal Solicitation 2nd

• Nathan Henry, 31, of Georgetown – 12 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd , Criminal Solicitation 2nd

• Leondious Gibbs, 29, of Millsboro – 6 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

• Aaron D. Isler, 34, of Ellendale – 8 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd , Criminal Solicitation 2nd

• Anthony Hopkins, 53, of Milton – 12 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd, Criminal Solicitation 2nd

• Corina Lloyd, 40, of Millsboro – 8 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd , Criminal Solicitation 2nd

• Myricka A. Sampson, 33, of Harbeson – 12 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd , Criminal Solicitation 2nd

• Desirae A. Hammel, 24, of Lewes – 2 charges – Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd

• Perry Butler, 51, of Greenwood – 6 charges – Tier 4 Possession of Oxycodone, Criminal Solicitation 2nd, Conspiracy 2nd , Possession of Oxycodone

• Kevin Worrell, 35, of Lewes – 4 charges – Possession of a Firearm by a Person Prohibited, Possession of Cocaine, Criminal Solicitation 2nd, Conspiracy 2nd

• Daniel Godwin, 28, of Georgetown – 3 charges – Possession of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd, Criminal Solicitation 2nd

• Angela Brown, 43, of Dover – 2 charges – Delivery of Oxycodone, Conspiracy 2nd

• Sheri Chalfant, 52, of Laurel – 2 charges – Delivery of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd

• Domonique Johnson, 20, of Ellendale – 3 Charges – Possession of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd, Criminal Solicitation 2nd

SOUGHT BY POLICE

Arrest warrants have been obtained for the following :

• Rhamir D. Waples, 19, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 81 charges – Murder 1st Degree, Attempted Murder 1st Degree, Racketeering, Home Invasion, Robbery 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Conspiracy 2nd Degree, Reckless Endangering 1st Degree, Wearing a Disguise During the Commission of a Felony

• Richard Robinson, 20, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 81 charges – Murder 1st Degree, Attempted Murder 1st Degree, Racketeering, Home Invasion, Robbery 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Conspiracy 2nd Degree, Reckless Endangering 1st Degree, Wearing a Disguise During the Commission of a Felony

• Shamir A. Stratton, 24, of Pennsauken, New Jersey- 22 charges – Murder 1st Degree, Home Invasion, Robbery 1st Degree, Attempted Robbery 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Conspiracy 1st Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree

• Rachel R. Rentoul, 30, of Wilmington – 13 charges – Home Invasion, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Robbery 1st Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree

• Jacquelyn Heverin 24, of Millsboro – 13 charges – Home Invasion, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony, Robbery 1st Degree, Conspiracy 2nd Degree

• Dean R. Zerden, 47, of Millsboro – 3 charges – Possession of Cocaine, Criminal Solicitation 2nd, Conspiracy 2nd

• Samuel J. Jones, 34, of Millsboro – 12 charges – Tier 5 Possession of Cocaine, Tier 4 Delivery of Cocaine, Conspiracy 2nd , Criminal Solicitation 2nd

• Thomas Tallent, 29, of Georgetown – 3 charges – Possession of Heroin, Conspiracy 2nd, Criminal Solicitation 2nd

Anyone with information on these suspects is asked to contact Sgt. G. Windish at 302-752-3814. Information may also be provided through Delaware Crime Stoppers, which offers rewards, at 800-847-3333 or www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com. Anonymous tips also may be sent by text to 274637 (CRIMES) starting the message with “DSP.”

Planning for Operation in the House began in February and it was launched in March, with 25 search warrants executed in the first week of May at various locations in Kent and Sussex counties. As a result, a Sussex County grand jury indicted 30 suspects.

Investigators said they seized  over 2 kilograms of cocaine, more than 7,200 bags of heroin, 7,921 grams of marijuana, .02 grams of methamphetamine and 41 prescription narcotic pills, as well as $135,310 in cash, 19 firearms and 15 vehicles.

On June 22, indictments were obtained for the suspects in the murders and home invasions.

Several investigations are still underway, authorities said.

Attorney General Matt Denn said, “This is another example of law enforcement agencies working together to take criminals off the street. … My sincere thanks goes out to the Delaware State Police, along with the Dover, Georgetown, and Philadelphia Police Departments, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S.Marshals, Department of Correction Probation and Parole, and the Sussex Correctional Institution. I also want to recognize Deputy Attorneys General Martin Cosgrove, Chris Hutchison and Peggy Marshall for leading the DOJ efforts in this dogged investigation, and securing the indictment.”

Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr., superintendent of Delaware State Police, said, “The arrest of these suspects will have a significant impact and will go a long way to improve the quality of life in the affected communities. An investigation of this magnitude requires significant cooperation, communication, coordination and resources for all of those involved.”