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Nine charged in Chicago-to-NW Indiana heroin ring

(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) Nine people are facing federal drug charges for their roles in an operation that trafficked heroin between Chicago and northwest Indiana, according to prosecutors.

Federal prosecutors claim Richton Park resident Antwon Willis, 44, was the primary source of much of the heroin that was ultimately resold in northwest Indiana, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Indiana.

The drug ring has operated since 2009, according to the indictment, which was filed Oct. 8 and unsealed Wednesday.

Eight other defendants made numerous trips and calls to buy heroin from Willis, then brought it back to LaPorte and Porter counties to use and sell to others, the indictment claims.

They include:

• Tyquin Dinkins, 35, of Chicago

• Tracy West, 33, of Chicago

• Jordan Gutkowski, 28, of Michigan City, Ind.

• Brandon Heuer, 28, of Michigan City

• Nathan Mougros, 26, of Michigan City

• Derrick Penwell, 31, of Michigan City

• Brittany Lemond, 26, of Michigan City

• James Jones, 26, of Westville, Ind.

All nine face various drug and conspiracy charges, court records show. Willis is scheduled to appear for a detention hearing Thursday in South Bend, while the other eight will appear in court Tuesday.

The U.S. Attorney’s office will seek to hold all of the defendants without bond, the statement said.

The DEA, Porter County Drug Task Force and Michigan City police investigated the case, with assistance from Chicago Police.