Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach, Federal Bureau of Investigation Cleveland Division Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony, Marion Police Chief Bill Collins, Marion County Sheriff Tim Bailey, and Marion County Prosecutor Brent Yager announced Thursday that more than three dozen people are now facing charges as a result of a large-scale investigation focusing on the trafficking and possession of drugs in Marion, Ohio.
Thirty-nine individuals were indicted on a total of 125 felony and misdemeanor charges last week. The indictments, which were unsealed today, primarily surround the sale and/or possession of heroin, cocaine, and prescription drugs such as Percocet, Vicodin and Xanax. The charges follow the February indictments of 19 others who are facing federal charges in connection with the investigation.
Investigators served arrest warrants on the suspects Thursday morning as part of "Operation Buyers' Remorse." Prosecutors with Attorney General DeWine's Office will prosecute the cases.
"Today's indictments and arrests focus on the mid-level traffickers and the addicts who are fueling the demand for drugs being brought into Marion County," DeWine said. "While we know we cannot arrest our way out of the drug abuse problem, those who break the law must face the consequences. It is our hope that those arrested today will use this as a wake-up call to turn their lives around."
"Today is just another example of agencies working together for the common good of our community, and as I have stated month after month, we are not done yet," said Chief Collins. "This will continue to be the way we fight our drug problem in Marion, Ohio. We know we are just a piece of the puzzle in solving the heroin epidemic that has plagued our community, but we have shown time and again that we are committed 100% to making our piece of the puzzle happen day in and day out."
"I want to thank everyone involved in this investigation for their hard work in yet another wave of arrests in our continuing push to drive drugs out of our community," said Prosecutor Yager. "Let this be a message to the individuals still slinging their poison in our community that we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will prosecute you."
"The teamwork by local, state, and federal authorities that went into this investigation was outstanding," said Sheriff Bailey. "Those who want to come to our community and deal drugs need to ask themselves if they really want to risk being arrested, because this case is proof that we are watching, and we will come after you."
“These indictments are an important step in our efforts to shut down the pipeline of heroin, pills and cocaine into Marion,” said U.S. Attorney Dettelbach. “This case is another example of the continued partnership between local, state and federal law enforcement when it comes to keeping our communities safe.”
“This interstate drug trafficking organization brought danger and violence to the community through multiple shootings, overdoses and continued addiction for citizens in Marion," said Special Agent in Charge Anthony. "The FBI, along with the numerous agencies that brought this group to justice, will continue collaborative efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and prosecute drug traffickers.”
Investigators began investigating the suspects after an influx of drugs started coming into the community from Detroit and Fort Wayne, Indiana. The investigation involved electronic surveillance which assisted in both the federal and state indictments.
In addition to the FBI, Marion Police Department and Marion County Sheriff's Office, authorities with the MARMET Drug Task Force, METRICH Drug Task Force, Ohio Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio Highway Patrol, and United States Drug Enforcement Administration assisted in the investigation.
A complete list of those indicted by the Marion County grand jury, as well as five additional individuals charged in Marion Municipal Court, can be seen by clicking on the PDF below.