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Butler County drug bust: Sheriff ‘shocked’ by amount in $3 million seizures

Sheriff calls drug bust one of the region’s biggest.
Posted at 9:58 AM, Jun 13, 2021

BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio — Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones said he was “shocked” when he learned the amount of drugs and guns that were seized this week by the Butler County Regional Narcotics (BURN) task force.

“This is a lot,” Jones said Friday morning during a press conference as numerous boxes and bags of drugs and eight guns were displayed on tables in a conference room. “Unbelievable.”

Jones said the unit confiscated about $3 million in weapons and drugs Tuesday that were scheduled to be delivered in the 2600 block of Hamilton Cleves Road. He called it one of the largest drug busts in the region and one of the top 10 in the state.

“Powerful, mean and tough stuff” is how the sheriff described the drugs.

Michael S. Morales, of the 1800 block of Baltimore Street, Middletown, was charged with trafficking in drugs and possession of drugs. His bond was set at $30,000 in Hamilton Municipal Court by Judge Dan Gattermeyer.

Morales, 22, posted bond on Thursday and was released from the Butler County Jail, according to court records. He’s scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday with his attorney, David Washington.

Agents watched as a Penske rental truck drove off at about 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, Jones said. They stopped the truck, and the driver, the sole occupant, was identified as Morales, the sheriff said.

He said a K-9 got “a hit on the truck.”

Inside the van, the agents found 30 large cardboard boxes that contained about 75,000 THC vape cartridges, 40 pounds of psychedelic mushrooms and numerous packages of THC edibles packaged as candy.

“This stuff will kill you,” Jones said.

Numerous firearms were found in the residence, Jones said.

Jones said the investigation is “hot” and he expects other arrests to be made, possibly by Friday night.

He doesn’t believe Morales was acting alone.

“A lot of product for one guy,” Jones said.