SWAT teams raided several homes and a business in a two-county drug investigation Monday.
Police and tactical teams raided eight locations after a six-month investigation. It began in Mount Washington on Monday morning.
The first home searched was in the 6000 block of Beechmont Avenue, near McNicholas High School and Guardian Angels School.
Officers said the operation was a joint effort by the Clermont County Narcotics Unit and Cincinnati police.
The Clermont County sheriff said the officers had warrants for two properties on Ohio Pike in Amelia, three on Beechmont Avenue in Cincinnati, one on Fulton Grove in Pierce Township, one on Marilyn Lane in Withamsville, one on Elm Drive also in Withamsville.
“My boss was late getting back from lunch and he called and said the road was shut down and I looked out the window and saw a bunch of police cars and a SWAT team with their rifles drawn busting in doors over there and just a lot of chaos for about an hour,” witness Sonya Gastrich said. “If something bad is going on over there, I hope they find out and stop it.”
Officers from Union Township and Miami Township assisted with the raids, the sheriff said.
Investigators said they seized 316 pounds of marijuana, $25,000 in cash, 55 guns, several thousand rounds of ammunition, 10 cars, several computers, documents and one fishing boat. They believe all the items were used in the sale or trafficking of marijuana.
Seven people were arrested in connection with the raids. Thomas Awad Sr., 58, Thomas Awad Jr., 23, Michael Awad, 65, Richard Awad, 62, and Ronald Day, 68, were all charged with drug possession and drug trafficking.
Angela Hale, 40, was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence; Jonathan Jacobs, 33, was arrested on an outstanding warrant.
All seven suspects were booked into the Clermont County Jail. Six appeared in court Tuesday and five, all members of the Awad family, got bonds of $250,000. Day received a $25,000 bond.
“Based on the nature of these charges, the fact is that this is a fairly complex organization run by all of these defendants,” assistant prosecutor Joseph Mooney said.
The sheriff said more arrests related to the search warrants could be coming.
No other information was released about the investigation or trafficking operation, but prosecutors did say Tuesday that they believed it was part of a ring that may stretch to Arizona.