Multiple people were arrested Thursday morning in a major drug bust in Clinton County that also includes charges of welfare fraud and extends to the Dayton area.
The investigation, which had been in the works for more than one year, was a collaborative effort conducted by the Wilmington Police Department and the Greater Warren County Drug Task Force. Seventy-two individuals were charged as the result.
“Today is a culmination of a lot of hard work by Detective Scott Baker. We picked up a lot of people who are responsible for the vast majority of the drug activity in the City of Wilmington. In the next coming days, we will continue to pick up the remainder of those wanted stemming from the investigation,” said Wilmington Police Chief Duane Weyand.
According to a Wilmington Police Department media release, several search warrants were also executed in the Dayton area.
Wilmington experienced an explosion of heroin use, prior to the start of the operation. According to the media release, the area experienced a 632-percent increase in overdose-related calls for service within the last 18-month period.
Targets of the investigation reportedly bragged about the quality of the heroin, and admitted it has killed people, the media release stated.
The investigation began with several drug purchases originating from the Wilmington area leading to Dayton. In the midst of the operation, investigators found a large-scale drug operation organized in a hierarchical structure indicating a widespread problem spanning multiple counties, stated the media release.
Numerous firearms and cash were confiscated in the operation.
The following amounts of drugs were reportedly recovered: Cocaine, 951.59 grams; heroin 79.4 grams; meth, 132 grams; Fentanyl, 2.05 grams and marijuana, 4,983 grams.
In addition to drug trafficking, welfare fraud was also a target of the operation. The media release stated the total loss prevention to Ohio Job and Family Services by indicting those who were arrested will save more than $100,000 per year in Clinton County. Local food stamps were reportedly sold 50 cents on the dollar in trade for narcotics.
On Monday, June 23, secret indictments were returned by a Clinton County grand jury on 47 individuals. The indictments ranged from felony of the first-degree engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity to trafficking in drugs, a felony of the fifth-degree. Twenty-five individuals with attempted possession charges received a misdemeanor of the first-degree.
The police department worked with multiple undercover operations involving surveillance, direct purchase of narcotics and multiple confidential sources in order to tackle the problem in Clinton County, the media release said.
The contributing agencies included: ACE Drug Task Force in Greene County, Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, Dayton Safe Streets Task Force, the Dayton Drug Enforcement Agency office, the Cincinnati and Dayton Federal Bureau of Investigation offices and the Ohio Highway State Patrol.
A press conference has been scheduled for Friday morning with more information about the investigation expected to be disclosed.
Aly Shinkle can be reached at 937-382-2874, or on Twitter @alyshinkle.