$42 Million Narcotics Seizure

$42 Million Narcotics Seizure

COLUMBUS, OH, Dec. 22, 2021 — The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) – a collaborative effort involving federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies – seized more than $42 million in illegal drugs in 2021, surpassing the $29 million in confiscations the previous year.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, Gov. Mike DeWine, and Homeland Securities Special Agent-in-Charge Vance Callender announced today that OOCIC’s major drug interdiction task forces confiscated the following drugs this year versus the previous year:

stats table

The notable one-year increase in seizure amounts is attributable to the addition of an OOCIC task force, the expansion of other OOCIC task forces, increased levels of drug trafficking in Ohio, and the culmination of long-term investigations. Also in 2021, OOCIC task forces seized 7,906 opioid pain pills and 1,205 other prescription pain pills.

“The law enforcement officers of our major drug interdiction task forces are guardians on the wall, protecting Ohioans from overdoses and death by seizing narcotics before they are distributed into our communities,” Yost said. “Substantially larger quantities of heroin, fentanyl, and methamphetamine were interdicted in 2021 than prior years, proof of our task forces’ vigilance to stay ahead of drug traffickers. I look forward to OOCIC’s continued success in 2022.”

The task forces, formed through partnerships with Homeland Security Investigations and local law enforcement agencies statewide, are funded through RecoveryOhio, in concert with the Ohio Department of Public Safety and Ohio Criminal Justice Services.

“The continued success of the task forces this past year can directly be attributed to the tireless efforts of police officers and special agents working together to arrest and prosecute those who seek to profit on the addictions of others,” Vance Callender, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Detroit Field Office said,  “HSI brings national and international resources to Ohio law enforcement so not only local dealers are arrested, but the leader/organizers who are the source of supply for local criminal networks and across the U.S.  We want to ensure the broadest impact is brought to those who ultimately profit from these international conspiracies.”

The strength of the task forces stems from the multi-level involvement. Aided by federal intelligence, local agencies operating under OOCIC’s jurisdiction carry out drug interdictions to remove illegal narcotics from Ohio communities.

Here is a sampling of seizures in 2021:

Hamilton County Major Drug Interdiction Task Force

In April, the Hamilton County task force made four major seizures of narcotics destined for southwest Ohio from California. The seizures included more than 5 pounds of heroin and 43 pounds of methamphetamine.

In November, at the conclusion of an investigation that culminated in the felony federal indictment of four people, the task force seized 25 pounds of fentanyl, 1.2 pounds of cocaine, 38 pounds of marijuana, 13 firearms, and $43,701.

The task force includes the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Regional Narcotics Unit, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Licking, Muskingum and Guernsey Major Drug Interdiction Task Force (CODE)

In June, CODE seized 2,350 grams of methamphetamine and 2,718 counterfeit Oxycodone pills found to contain fentanyl. The seizure led to the arrest of two Licking County men.

In September, the task force seized 24.5 pounds of methamphetamine, whose estimated street value exceeded $500,000.

The task force includes the sheriff’s offices in Licking, Muskingum, Guernsey, Knox, Perry, and Coshocton counties; the Ohio State Highway Patrol; the U.S. Postal Inspector; Homeland Security Investigations; and the Licking County Prosecutor’s Office.

 Medina and Summit Major Drug Interdiction Task Force (ONSET)

In September, ONSET seized 13 kilograms of cocaine and a loaded handgun from subjects involved with a vehicle of interest that had ties to the Southwest border.

The task force includes the sheriff’s offices in Medina and Summit counties, the Copley Township Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Medina County Drug Task Force, the State Highway Patrol, the Summit County Drug Task Force, the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Medina County Prosecutor’s Office.

Belmont County Major Drug Interdiction Task Force

In March, during the arrest of a Bellaire man, the task force seized 9 pounds of methamphetamine, 6 ounces of cocaine, $3,861, and a loaded firearm.

In October, in executing multiple search warrants, the task force confiscated over 1 pound of methamphetamine and other narcotics, along with paraphernalia and packaging for distribution.

The task force includes the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office, the Belmont County Prosecutor’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office.

 Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force

In November, the task force identified an individual suspected of narcotics trafficking in Montgomery County, subsequently seizing 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1 pound of marijuana.

In December, the task force arrested Jose Noriega-Rodriquez of Sinaloa, Mexico, on charges of narcotics trafficking. Throughout their investigation, detectives seized 10 kilograms of fentanyl, 2 kilograms of cocaine, 1 kilogram of heroin, 336 grams of methamphetamine, 4 pounds of marijuana, and about $150,000.

The task force includes the sheriff’s offices in Montgomery and Clark counties, the police departments in Miami and Butler townships, the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the State Highway Patrol, and Homeland Security Investigations.

Central Ohio Major Drug Interdiction Task Force

In February, an investigation conducted by the task force disrupted a complex trafficking scheme between Columbus and Las Vegas, Nevada which led to the indictment of three individuals on federal charges for the distribution of cocaine. The co-conspirators used short-term residential rentals in Columbus and other east coast cities as mailing locations to import smuggled cocaine from Mexico. After the narcotics were sold to local drug dealers, the cash proceeds were sent back to Las Vegas. Nationally, the group shipped and distributed over one hundred kilograms of cocaine and over $1,000,000.

The task force includes the Columbus Division of Police, BCI, Gahanna Police, the Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security Investigations, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, the State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Postal Inspector, Ohio HIDTA, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Toledo Major Drug Interdiction Task Force

In April, the task force worked with the Toledo Police Gang Unit and the Toledo Police SWAT Unit to execute a search warrant related to drug trafficking that originated in California. Suspect Brandon Moore was arrested and charged with multiple trafficking-related felonies and weapons charges after more than 20 pounds of marijuana, other drugs, a loaded pistol, and $48,000 were seized.

The task force includes the Toledo Police, the sheriff’s offices in Lucas and Wood counties, Homeland Security Investigations, the FBI, the Toledo Drug Task Force, the State Highway Patrol, Perrysburg Police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Ohio, the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office and the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office.

Since 2012, OOCIC’s major drug interdiction task forces have seized narcotics with an estimated value of $285,014,414, including 692 pounds of heroin, 666 pounds of fentanyl, 1,563 pounds of methamphetamine, 1,763 pounds of cocaine, and 28,305 pounds of marijuana. The task forces have also seized $73,322,940 and 1,022 firearms.

Organized Crime Task Force Busts 59

Organized Crime Task Force Busts 59

CIRCLEVILLE, OH, Nov. 2019 — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced the success of a major undercover drug task force operation that took down 59 individuals and recovered large amounts of drugs and stolen guns.

The U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task Force, part of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC), rooted out drug trafficking in southern Ohio with impressive results. The undercover effort encompassed the sheriff’s offices of Ross, Pickaway and Fayette counties as well as the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation and OOCIC offices.

“These drug busts were the equivalent of organized crime rings you’d see in the movies, not only taking profits but also lives,” Yost said. “Coordinated crime requires a cooperative effort, which is why our OOCIC partnerships that allow local law enforcement to work across county lines are so successful.”

The investigation focused on the trafficking of narcotics and stolen firearms, which led to grand jury indictments of 59 people in major drug trafficking organizations. The investigation netted 95 ounces of methamphetamine and 109 doses of hydrocodone as well as cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and suboxone. Additionally, eight stolen firearms were seized. 

“This criminal investigation was an example of a collaborative effort between local, regional and state agencies,” Pickaway County Sheriff Robert Radcliff said. “Often, organized criminal activity spans multiple counties and requires a multi-jurisdictional response. When committing to a long-term investigation such as this, we work closely with our partners to use our combined resources more efficiently and effectively.” 

A total of 163 felony counts were issued, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trafficking in drugs and possession of drugs. Combined, the offenses carry a potential maximum sentence of more than 1,000 years in prison.  

“I would like to commend the efforts of the U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task Force for their continued efforts to investigate and prosecute major drug dealers in their counties,” Ross County Sheriff George Lavender said. “The hours and effort that go into these types of investigations to indict and arrest major drug suppliers take a tremendous amount of time to reach this outcome. The subjects indicted and arrested are major suppliers of the drugs that are crippling our counties and causing drug-related deaths in our communities. I would like to thank the citizens of this community for sharing drug information with our agencies and for being patient while the operation played out.”

Said Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth: “The men and women who comprise the U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task Force are commended for their unwavering commitment to fighting drugs on the front line. Member counties of the task force have long been partners in the struggle to curtail drug operations and find the drug dealers who prey upon our communities.

“Today’s operation illustrates the objectives of the task force and furthers the unified collaboration of our counties in that ongoing struggle to halt the drug supply. Law enforcement constantly works to identify and investigate drug-related crimes. Undercover agents and road patrol deputies put their lives on the line to protect us and work diligently in our communities to bring criminals to justice. Agents could not be effective today without citizens willing to share what they observe in their neighborhoods. Together, we will continue that fight to rid our neighborhoods of criminal activity and hold criminals accountable.”

Partners assisting the U.S. 23 Major Crimes Task Force in this investigation included Judy Wolford, Pickaway County Prosecutor’s Office; Jeff Marks, Ross County Prosecutor’s Office; Jess Weade, Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office; Karhlton Moore, executive director of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services; as well as the Ohio Attorney General’s BCI Criminal Intelligence Unit and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Special Investigation Unit.


Posted by Dan Starcher, public communications specialist for the Wayne County government.