Feds indict eight in Kentucky motorcycle chop shop ring

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Five Kentuckians and three Ohioans have been indicted for crimes related to the sale of stolen motorcycles occurring between 2000 to 2008.

The indictment, which was filed under seal Aug. 11, charges Mark Justice, 52, of Ashland, Ky., John C. Slusher, 58, of Pineville, Ky., Robert Jason Chapman, 31, of Cleves, Ohio, George Ferguson, 63, of Ashland, Ky., Richard D. Meade, 64, of Ashland, Ky., Robert W. Harris, 60, of Newport, Ky., Shon Fields, 33, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Christina Bannigan, 31, of Cleves, Ohio, with a money laundering conspiracy related to the interstate shipment of stolen vehicles.

The grand jury indictment also charges some of the defendants with money laundering and possessing stolen vehicle parts with the intent to sell them. In addition, Fields is charged with obstruction of justice and Harris is charged with lying to a federal law enforcement agency.

According to the indictment, the defendants altered or obliterated the vehicle identification numbers from stolen motorcycles. They then allegedly transferred the title of the motorcycles to others before selling them, to conceal the fact that they were stolen.

The indictment alleges that the conspiracy stretched from January 2000 until February 2008, and that most of the alleged criminal activity took place in Bell and Boyd counties in Kentucky. The defendants profited $2.5 million from the conspiracy, the indictment says.

Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Special Agent in Charge Michael A. Rodriguez, FBI Pittsburgh Division and FBI Charleston, W. Va.; Special Agent in Charge Elizabeth A. Fries, FBI Louisville Division; Rodney Brewer, Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police, Criminal Enterprise Task Force; Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Ohio Bureau of Investigation and Ohio State Patrol; and NICB, announced the indictment together Aug. 17.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the FBI, Kentucky State Police, OBI, NICB, and Ohio Patrol. The indictment was presented to the grand jury by Assistant United States Attorney Stephen C. Smith.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.

Posted by Holly Wagner

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