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Feds link pair to Allen County's biggest drug bust

Fabini, Butler allegedly dealt marijuana from Harlan house

Saturday, March 2, 2013 - 7:16 am

Two men indicted by a grand jury Thursday on a litany of drug-trafficking charges allegedly made and dealt marijuana from a house where police in 2008 seized Allen County's biggest ever haul of illegal drugs.

Between Sept. 21, 2007, and March 6, 2008, Michael A. Fabini and Marshall Butler allegedly ran a marijuana operation from a house in the 22600 block of Antwerp Road near Harlan, according to the 44-count federal indictment released Thursday.

On March 6, 2008 – the last day Fabini and Butler allegedly ran their drug operation from the Antwerp Road property – Allen County Sheriff's Department raided the house, seizing bundles of marijuana with a total street value of at least $6 million.

“The citizens of Allen County should be proud of their narcotics officers,” Sheriff Ken Fries said at the time of the raid, which resulted in the seizure of 6,700 pounds of marijuana. Fries even put $600,000 of seized cash toward developing a new training center.

The raid stemmed from a traffic stop of 29-year-old Matthew McChesney the night before, when police reportedly found 12 pounds of marijuana and $100,000 cash in McChesney's car.

McChesney, who had been living at the Antwerp Road house, was later convicted of various drug-dealing charges and sentenced in 2011 to 27 years in prison.

But it remains unclear when exactly local and federal law enforcement started investigating Fabini and Butler, and how the pair was linked with McChesney.

Cpl. Jeremy Tinkel, a spokesman for the Allen County Sheriff's Department, referred all questions to the FBI because the case is now under federal jurisdiction.

Special Agent David Crawford, of the FBI's Fort Wayne office, also declined to answer questions Friday, saying U.S. Department of Justice policy forbids agents from talking about an investigation after an indictment.

Fabini and Butler allegedly continued their involvement with drug trafficking through Dec. 6, according to the indictment. On Dec. 6, federal agents raided seven Allen County properties, including homes belonging to Fabini and his brother, former NFL lineman Jason Fabini.

Butler is named in three counts of the indictment, while Michael Fabini is named in all 44 counts.