Fort Wayne man convicted on cocaine, heroin charges

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A man in the middle of one of the largest drug distribution rings in northern Indiana was convicted in federal court Wednesday.

Larry Norton, 66, Fort Wayne, was found guilty after a six-day jury trial of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine.

Norton and four other individuals conspired to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute over one kilogram of heroin and five kilograms of cocaine between Oct. 2014 and Jan. 2015, according to court documents.

Four other defendants: Allan Bates, James Lepper, Eric White, and Ryan Bowman previously pleaded guilty. The four have yet to be sentenced.

At the time of their arrests, Bates was suspected of being the ring leader of the operation.

The FBI, Allen County Sheriff’s Department, Fort Wayne Police Department and Indiana State Police were responsible for the original bust in 2015 that recovered 100 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately $3 million. They also recovered $5.9 million in cash, guns, and vehicles during more than 20 searches.

The law enforcement agencies involved make up the Safe Streets Task Force and 80 percent of the recovered money will be forfeited and given to local law enforcement for department use.

A sentencing date for Norton’s conviction has yet to be scheduled by the court.