Narcotics unit seizes largest amount of crystal meth in Ohio history, sheriff says

3 suspects' bond set at $2 million
This is Ohio's biggest crystal meth bust ever
Posted at 3:05 PM, Aug 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 09:36:28-04

CINCINNATI -- Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil announced the largest seizure of crystal methamphetamine ever in Ohio Wednesday.

Agents with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Regional Narcotics Unit arrested three people and took more than 16.5 pounds of crystal meth as a result of a lengthy investigation, Neil said.

Authorities arrested three people from the Atlanta area who they said were driving the crystal meth from Georgia to Cincinnati: 19-year-old Arturo Talavera Ayala, 25-year-old Rafael Ayala and 42-year-old Kimberly Jane Johnson.

All three were assigned $2 million bonds at their arraignment Thursday morning.


The drugs were manufactured in a clandestine "super lab" in Mexico and then shipped to Atlanta before being driven to Cincinnati, Neil said.

Neil estimated the street value of the crystal meth is about $937,000, and Chief Deputy Mark Schoonover said taking these drugs off the streets could also prevent other crimes in the area.

“Behind the use of all of this is also a lot of criminal activity because people can’t, quite simply, afford this drug, so they do whatever it takes to get it," he said.

The previous largest seizure of crystal meth by law enforcement officers occurred in Youngstown in 2010, when authorities took 13 pounds of drugs.

In addition, Neil also announced another pair of arrests and the seizure of about 2 pounds of heroin as the result of another investigation. RENU agents found Clemente Quezada, 33, of Butler County and Pablo Dominguez, 27, of New York, Tuesday with the drugs and an unspecified amount of cash, Neil said.

A judge set bond at $1 million for both Quezada and Dominguez in court Wednesday morning.