The Journal Gazette
Saturday, August 01, 2020 1:00 am

Drugs, guns, cash found in raid; man faces life in prison

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne man is facing life in prison after federal agents said they found guns, drugs and $250,000 – some of it hidden inside a sump pump – in his East Pontiac Street home during an early-morning raid.

John E. Clark, 53, is charged in a three-count criminal complaint filed July 24 in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne. He sold crack cocaine out of his home at least twice to a “confidential source” working with an Allen County drug task force detective, the complaint says.

The first time was Nov. 7, when the source met Clark to pay him $200 for 2 grams of the drug, according to court documents. Clark reportedly sold $100 worth of the drug to the source a week later, and a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent wrote in the complaint that police found sandwich bags July 16 in trash outside his home that tested positive for cocaine.

Officers raided the home at 5:50 a.m. July 23, finding a duffel bag with cocaine inside, two handguns, ammunition, scales and “a white bowl with a white powder that field-tested positive for cocaine” in the garage. In the house, police said they found two cellphones, scales, two money counters, a gun and more ammunition.

“Inside the basement, officers located a large amount of U.S. currency scattered around and inside the sump pump, with (us) roughly estimating this to be more than $120,000 and with a total bulk U.S. currency seizure being more than $250,000,” the federal agent wrote. “(I) observed this money, and it appeared to have been dropped as someone was moving it in an attempt to hide the money.”

A silver cup containing cocaine also was found in the basement, the complaint says.

The address of the home is not listed in court documents, but Allen Count Sheriff's Department records show a warrant was issued at 5:50 a.m. July 23 at a home in the 1900 block of East Pontiac Street.

“Clark stated that his wife did not know anything about him using or dealing drugs out of the house,” charging documents say.

He is charged with using a home to distribute a controlled substance; doing so with a gun and prior drug conviction; and possessing a gun in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

The third charge is punishable by at least 25 years and up to life in prison for defendants with prior convictions, according to a notice of penalties filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony W. Geller.

Clark in 1999 pleaded guilty in state court to dealing in cocaine or narcotic drugs and was given a six-year suspended sentence.

He appeared in federal court Thursday, and another hearing is set for next week.

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