Friday, August 31, 2001

Arrests break up drug ring, police say




By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Police say they have broken up a major drug-distribution ring with the arrests of 17 people Thursday, all of whom had been indicted by a federal grand jury.

        The 17 arrested Thursday morning were being held at the Boone County, Ky., jail. Four others remained at large.

        Most of those indicted are from Adams County. One is from Texas, and one each from Clermont and Scioto counties.

        The arrests follow years of undercover investigations by several law-enforcement agencies, and involve thousands of pounds of marijuana, as well as cocaine, worth well over $1 million, said law enforcement officials.

        In a joint press conference Thursday afternoon, law-enforcement officials praised the cooperative efforts of several agencies in pursuing the cases against the 21 people.

        “My assessment is that cooperative efforts like this are the ones that lead to the most fruitful investigations,” said Greg Lockhart, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio. “We need the assistance of local and state (law enforcement agencies).”

        Undercover officers with the Cincinnati Drug Task Force conducted the investigation. The task force includes officers from the FBI, Clermont County Sheriff's Office and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

        The 49-count indictment includes charges of conspiring to distribute the drugs, money-laundering and using the telephone to commit these types of offenses.

        The indictments allege the suspects traveled to Brownsville, Texas, and Mexico to buy drugs and distribute them in southern Ohio.

        Richard Francis, 36, of Bentonville, Ohio, was indicted on 36 counts, and was identified as being the organizer of the conspiracy.

       



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