WILMINGTON, Ohio - Law enforcement officials issued six grand jury indictments at a Wilmington flea market Saturday stemming from an investigation into an alleged retail store theft ring that is believed to fund drug trafficking in the area.
The indictments and several search warrants were executed at about 9 a.m. Saturday at Caesar Creek Markets, one of the largest outdoor flea markets in the Midwest.
9 On Your Side reporter Mekialaya White reports that at least one arrest was made during the raid.
Investigators say a variety of stolen and counterfeit items were being sold at the market, clothing, groceries, DVDs, electronics, household items and other retail goods. The theft ring is believed to have cost central Ohio retailers millions of dollars.
Loss prevention departments from Kroger, CVS and other retailers were on hand Saturday in an attempt to recognize stolen items.
Deputies from Clinton County said they believe a drug investigation that took place Friday in Jeffersonville is linked to the goings on at the market.
"A lot of folks do this to finance their drug operations," said Col. Brian Prickett. "That doesn't mean the folks that we served search warrants on here today were necessarily drug dealers but they've purchased items to sell cheaper than what you can buy in a store and most times cheaper than what a large retailer can purchase them for"
Deputies say the owners of the flea market have been cooperating with authorities and only a handful of vendors are involved.
Caesar Creek Markets is a year-round flea market comprised of eight buildings and more than 500 sales spaces.
The investigation is ongoing.
Stay with 9 On Your Side and WCPO.com for updates to this developing story.