Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today the formation of a new Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) task force focused on the investigation and interception of large scale illegal drug and cash transactions in Warren, Butler, Hamilton, and Clermont counties.
The Southwest Ohio Bulk Currency Smuggling Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Warren County Drug Task Force, Clermont County Narcotics Unit, Regional Enforcement Narcotics Unit, Ohio State Highway Patrol, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and Butler County Prosecutor's Office.
"The goal of this new task force is to target high level drug trafficking operations exchanging large amounts of money and drugs in southwest Ohio," said Attorney General DeWine. "Even though the task force has only been in operation since mid-August, task force members have already made a large dent in the amount of illegal drugs circulating in the state."
“This collaboration of law enforcement in four counties in Southwest Ohio will seriously disrupt the flow of drugs and illegal proceeds into our region," said Southwest Ohio Bulk Currency Smuggling Task Force Commander John Burke.
"The number one way to take down a criminal organization is to go after the money," said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge for HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "Money is overwhelmingly the primary motive for the criminal activity we investigate. When we eliminate a criminal organziation's profits, it significantly inhibits their ability to commit crimes in our communities."
Last month, an investigation conducted by task force members resulted in the indictments of four individuals from Ohio, California, and Mexico after task force agents developed intelligence that the suspects planned to transport bulk amounts of marijuana from southwest Ohio to southeast Ohio.
The following suspects were arrested after a traffic stop on State Route 32 in Clermont County resulted in the seizure of more than 650 pounds of marijuana:
Gary Moore, 19, Vinton, Ohio
Jose Luis Torres, 28, Ontario, California
Juan Pablo Sevilla Ruiz, 34, Mexico
Jermaine Jackson, 33, Gallipolis, Ohio
A Clermont County Grand Jury indicted each defendant on felony charges of Trafficking in Marijuana, Possession of Drugs, and Conspiracy to Commit Trafficking in Drugs. The cases will be prosecuted by the Clermont County Prosecutor's Office.
Established in 1986, the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, which is a division of the Ohio Attorney General's Office, assists local law enforcement agencies in combating organized crime and corrupt activities. The Commission is composed of members of the law enforcement community and is chaired by the Ohio Attorney General. In 2013, authorities working in OOCIC task forces across the state seized more than $14 million worth of drugs and more than $5 million in U.S. currency.