Cleveland dealer bought properties and sold drugs out of them, feds say

A Cleveland man with a history of drug convictions amassed more than two dozen properties where he sold his drugs, according to an criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

Kristopher Courtney, 39, faces federal drugs and weapons charges. The complaint, which includes an affidavit sworn by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security agent, says Courtney makes between $20,000 and $50,000 a night selling heroin.

An informant told authorities that Courtney would buy a house, move his sister in, sell drugs out of it and then move to another house. Courtney repeated this pattern several times, the complaint says.

Agents found 26 properties associated with Courtney or his family members worth a total of $388,773.

They saw him making what appeared to be drug deals out of a house in the 2900 block of East 130th Street in the city's Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood, the complaint says. He was arrested Sept. 2 and indicted in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

He made his initial appearance in federal court Tuesday in front of Magistrate Judge Jonathan Greenberg. Preliminary and detention hearings are set for Friday.

Courtney has previous felony convictions for robbery, drug possession and drug trafficking.

A call left for his attorney, James Willis, was not immediately returned.

According to the complaint:

Agents trailed Courtney's car on Aug. 17 and conducted surveillance at his East 130th Street house. They saw several people visit Courtney at his house and watched him make hand-to-hand transactions at each stop.

A Cleveland police officer obtained a warrant on Aug. 18 to place a tracker on Courtney's car. On Aug. 24, when officers tried to place the tracking device on his car, they saw two people who looked like they were going to rob Courtney. Both were stopped; one was arrested on outstanding warrants and the other was released.

The informant later told law enforcement that the juvenile who was let go met up with others, and retrieved two handguns they hid along fences. They had planned to rob Courtney when he walked to his car, but were too far away. Courtney went back into his house before they could get to him.

Officers put the tracking device on Courtney's car on Aug. 25. They found that Courtney spent the night at different houses, at one in Garfield Heights and one in Shaker Heights.

Officers and agents searched all three homes on Sept. 2. They found 58 grams of heroin, 196 grams of a heroin-fentanyl mix, 140 grams of cocaine, firearms, real estate documents and drug packing materials, among other items.

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