Convicted drug dealer sentenced to life in prison

Mugshot of Larry Norton provided by the Allen County Sheriff's Dept.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – 66-year-old Larry Norton, the man in the middle of one of the largest drug distribution rings in Northern Indiana, will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana Clifford D. Johnson announced Norton’s sentence Thursday.

Norton was convicted in federal court in May on conspiracy to distribute and posses with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine. Court documents indicated that Norton and four other individuals intended to deal over a kilogram of heroin and five kilograms of cocaine between Oct. 2014 and Jan. 2015.

In 2015, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies busted up the drug ring. Norton was arrested along with Allan Bates, James Lepper, Eric White, and Ryan Bowman. The rain netted 100 kilograms of cocaine, $5.9 million in cash, guns, and vehicles. The cocaine alone had a street value estimated at $3 million.

Outside of Norton, the other four individuals pleaded guilty to charges.

Norton faced a minimum sentencing of life in prison because of two prior felony drug convictions. The U.S Attorney’s Officer said Norton has been previously convicted for dealing and distributing cocaine and possession of cocaine.

The investigation involved the Fort Wayne Safe Streets Task Force which includes the FBI, Indiana State Police, Allen County Sheriff’s Department, and Fort Wayne Police Department.