Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, Warren County Sheriff Larry Sims, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Acting Special Agent in Charge William Hayes announced Monday that an ongoing investigation has led to the seizure of more than a quarter of a million dollars and nearly 50 pounds of cocaine.
Authorities with the Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force, which is part of the Ohio Attorney General's Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, confiscated the majority of the evidence following two separate, but related traffic stops in Montgomery County last week.
Investigators arrested the driver of one of the vehicles, Cesar Anguiano, 35, on charges of trafficking in drugs and possession of drugs. A warrant has been issued for the driver of the second vehicle, Gonzalo Anguiano, 24, who ran from the scene after investigators stopped his car.
Task force agents stopped the cars after witnessing the individuals exchange 33 pounds of cocaine for approximately $300,000 in cash.
Authorities later arrested Mark Walker, 40, on a charge of possession of drugs after serving a search warrant at a Dayton home in connection with the investigation. An additional 15 pounds of cocaine and approximately $20,000 in cash were also confiscated.
"This case is a perfect example to those who choose to traffic drugs: Law enforcement is watching," DeWine said. "The message to drug dealers and cartels is that if you come to Ohio, you can expect that we will find you, confiscate your drugs and cash, and put you in prison."
"Cooperation between law enforcement agencies is making a significant impact, not only seizing the drugs that are being fed to our community, but taking the proceeds away from the cartels for future distribution," Sheriff Plummer said.
"This is another great example of what can be accomplished through a task force, and we are very pleased by the success of this task force so far," Sheriff Sims said.
"Drugs and cash are the lifeblood of trafficking organizations. When we seize significant quantities of narcotics and cash from these criminal groups, their ability to operate in the community is significantly inhibited, " said William Hayes, acting special agent in charge of HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "HSI remains committed to using our expertise in bulk cash smuggling to disrupt the criminal groups involved in the sale of illegal drugs.”
The cases will be prosecuted by attorneys with the office of U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart.
The Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force was formed in September 2013. In that time, local investigators have seized the following drugs with the total estimated street value of more than $7.6 million:
Heroin: 19 pounds
Marijuana: 1,146 pounds
Oxycodone: 800 pills
Methamphetamine: 25 pounds
Crack Cocaine: 90 grams
Cocaine: 51 pounds
Task force members have also seized more than $1.8 million in cash and have made 79 arrests in the past seven months.
The Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force consists of officers from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Montgomery County RANGE Task Force, Warren County Drug Task Force, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office, and Warren County Prosecutor's Office.
Established in 1986, the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission (OOCIC) 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.