A local drug task force busted what Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer called a “substantial” fentanyl operation during a series of raids Wednesday in Trotwood and Dayton.
Three people were arrested and four pounds of fentanyl were seized along with cash, guns and 10 “upscale” vehicles at search warrant raids at four locations by the Regional Agencies Narcotics & Gun Enforcement Task Force (RANGE), along with an FBI SWAT team. The drugs seized have a street value of about $160,000, Plummer said.
Authorities plan to present evidence to a federal prosecutor, meaning that, if convicted, the suspects could face 10 years to life in prison on drug trafficking and other offenses.
“This is that serious,” Plummer said.
He called the individuals arrested longtime, big players in the criminal arena and said they are not street-level dealers.
“They are selling by the ounce,” he said.
Plummer said the suspects are associated with Diamond Cut, a group that has long been recognized by local law enforcement as a criminal gang.
Clarence Winn is a local rap artist who has previously denied that Diamond Cut is a criminal gang.
The three are being held in separate jails. Larry Winn is in the Montgomery County Jail, Clarence Winn Jr. in the Shelby County Jail and Reynolds is in the Butler County Jail.
Drug overdose deaths continue to rise in Montgomery County and across the Miami Valley as Ohio remains ground zero for the nation's opioid crisis.
A group of Cedarville University pharmacy students spoke to local middle schoolers about the dangers of painkillers, heroin and fentanyl last week, citing the statistic that one in nine heroin overdoses across the U.S. takes place in Ohio.
The talk in Brookville came one day after a Spirit Airline pilot and his wife were found dead by their four children in their Centerville home from suspected fentanyl overdoses.
The Montgomery County Coroner's Office investigated 145 overdose deaths in January, putting the region on pace to nearly double 2016's record-setting 355 deaths.
"There's no end in sight," said Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger in late January.
Plummer hopes the disruption of this drug dealing operation will limit the deaths from fentanyl, which is much more potent than heroin.
"This might have an impact to slow some of this down," he said.
Plummer identified the suspects as members of Diamond Cut, a group that has long been recognized by local law enforcement as a criminal gang.
But Clarence Winn Jr. has previously denied the group is a criminal enterprise.
He told the Dayton Daily News in 2008 that he came up with the concept for his record label Fam First Entertainment and Diamond Cut, a "music movement" a decade earlier.
Numerous people who identified themselves as members of Diamond Cut and sported the group's tattoos have been convicted in federal drug cases in the past.
Five alleged members were convicted following a 2012 raid that netted 100 grams of heroin.
Published by www.whio.com