Police have arrested two Ohio men on suspicion of involvement in a large-scale drug smuggling operation that officials say began in 2006, with one accused suspect still at large. Prosecutors have accused the men and eight other Ohio natives of drug trafficking, charging all 11 suspects with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Police say they uncovered the ring after one member was arrested. Other individuals associated with the group reportedly contacted the member in an effort to ensure their operation would not be compromised.
The suspects in this case face a serious charge and would be required to serve at least 10 years in prison if convicted. In some situations, this charge can even result in a life sentence. This case illustrates how Ohio harshly punishes those convicted of drug crimes, making it critical for those accused of such offenses to ensure their interests are properly represented in court.
The two recently-arrested suspects stand accused of smuggling cannabis through an auto sales store. Authorities claim the men operate that store as well as another establishment as a front to launder money earned from drug trafficking. According to a U.S. Attorney, the men also purchased a boat and several real estate properties to help them launder their illicit profits.
The indictment alleges that the suspects received drug shipments hidden in the gas tanks of cars and crates full of granite countertops and tiles, dividing the shipments at an empty farmhouse and distributing them to associates throughout southern Ohio. Police claim that after the men received the shipments, they sent cash payments back to their suppliers in the southern United States. One of the arrested suspects reportedly made the trip regularly, carrying large sums of hidden money.
Additionally, the indictment accuses one of the suspects of operating a bank account where the group would deposit money earned from selling the received cannabis. The money could then reportedly be withdrawn by their out-of-state associates.
Source: Brownsville Herald, "Police seek man on drug charges," Aug. 22, 2012