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Courts

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Feds file charges of trafficking, laundering against Michael Fabini

Faces 44-count indictment

Federal court documents unsealed Thursday charging Michael Fabini with dozens of counts of drug trafficking and money laundering link the Fort Wayne man to one of the largest drug busts in Allen County history.

Fabini, 33, of the 6600 block of Cherry Hill Parkway, appeared in federal court Thursday for an initial hearing on the 44-count indictment.

Marshall Butler, 33, is also named in three counts of the indictment – charging him alongside Fabini with conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from September 2007 to December 2012, and two counts of maintaining a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing or using marijuana.

One of the addresses listed is 22633 Antwerp Road, which in 2008 was the residence of Matthew J. McChesney. Alongside federal agents, Allen County police raided McChesney’s home in early March 2008 and found 6,700 pounds of marijuana, guns and cash.

McChesney eventually pleaded guilty to possession of more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana with intent to distribute and a gun charge, and in 2011 was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

The indictment against Butler and Fabini was handed down Wednesday by a U.S. District Court grand jury in Fort Wayne and unsealed late Thursday morning. Both Fabini and Butler appeared in court for their initial appearances Thursday afternoon.

The indictment came three months after federal agents, alongside state and local law enforcement officers, raided Fabini’s Cherry Hill home, as well as an outbuilding at the home of his brother, former NFL player Jason Fabini.

At the time of the raid, officials said Jason Fabini was not the target of the investigation. His name does not appear in any of the court documents.

Eight other locations were searched on Dec. 6 and Dec. 7.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force. Implemented locally three years ago, the task force, made up of FBI agents as well as state and local law enforcement officers, targets ongoing criminal enterprises.

Another address listed in the recently unsealed federal indictment was 5603 Kohart Place. Alongside the Antwerp Road address, Butler and Fabini are accused of maintaining that property as a drug manufacturing or distribution site. The men are accused of having used that site from October 2009 to November 2011.

That property is owned by Lillian Enterprise in Warsaw. A message seeking comment was not returned Thursday. But a search of Indiana Secretary of State records reveal that Lillian Enterprise is affiliated with someone named Kevin Stevens.

During the December raids of properties associated with Fabini, FBI agents and members of the task force also searched properties belonging to Stevens. He also transferred a property to Fabini in August 2010, according to Allen County records.

Stevens has not been charged in the indictment.

The majority of the indictment against Michael Fabini accuses him of laundering the money gained through drug trafficking – moving tens of thousands of dollars in cash through area banks, as well as into unnamed businesses.

Fabini kept a number of the transactions under the $10,000 amount that would trigger a mandatory transaction report to federal officials, according to court documents. Most of the businesses are unnamed in court documents – identified only as “Business A” to “Business D.”

There is one exception, however. According to court documents, on Feb. 10, 2012, Fabini deposited $15,000 into an account for Research Landings Inc.

According to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office, Research Landings was incorporated two days before the deposit on Feb. 8, 2012, and lists David Gallager as its primary registered agent. No phone number for the company exists, and the business appears to be an empty building in New Haven.

No number for Gallager could be located.

Another man was indicted this week in what appeared to be an unrelated case. The grand jury indicted 40-year-old Jamison Gudorf on two counts – being a felon in possession of a firearm and possessing an unregistered firearm, both occurring on Dec. 7.

According to Allen County records, Gudorf is linked to a home in the 10000 block of Unita Drive, which was raided by the same federal task force on Dec. 7.

During his initial hearing Thursday, Michael Fabini appeared in a black hooded jacket and black pants, handcuffed and without his attorney.

Fabini told U.S. Magistrate Judge Roger Cosbey he had gone to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in 2000 for addiction and had been under the care of a psychiatrist for the past few weeks for additional treatment for substance abuse.

Fabini and Butler are scheduled to appear in court next week for a formal arraignment and hearings to determine whether they should remain in custody while the case progresses.

If they are convicted of the charges, they could each face more than 20 years in prison.

The indictment seeks the forfeiture of Fabini’s Cherry Hill home, which he expanded extensively since purchasing it in 2009.

By the time of the federal raid in December, the house had more than doubled in size and included a 265-square-foot pool house and multiple basements.

rgreen@jg.net

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