CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio -- An investigation into a marijuana distribution operation, which used numerous local businesses to launder their profits, has led to a grand jury in Clermont County indicting 12 people.
"We believe that some of the people under indictment would drive to California," said Clermont County Assistant Prosecutor Darren Miller. "This is a large operation."
After they brought the marijuana back and sold it, Miller said some in the operation would launder the profits through local restaurants, such as the Pacific Kitchen in Montgomery, Ohio, Ashlee's Chicken in Cincinnati, Ohio and Timmy's Wok in Hamilton, Ohio.
Miller believes some would also gamble at casinos, such as Jack Casino in Cincinnati, to "clean" the money. In 2017 alone, it is estimated the group gambled with more than $100 million.
"These individuals would go to the main cage and, for example, write a check for “x” amount of money, gamble for a short period of time and cash out and take those proceeds in an effort to clean that money — to launder that money," said Miller. "The gaming commission from Ohio had looked into it. I am certainly not indicating that Jack Casino was doing anything improper."
When arrests were made, officers recovered an additional $607,000 and 270 pounds of marijuana, which according to Miller, has an estimated value of $500,000. Twelve vehicles used in the operation were also seized.
The names of the people listed on the indictment are:
- Dylan Curless
- Bryan Fester
- Cynthia Fester
- Zachary Fester
- Kirsten Heinrich
- Kendall Hollis
- Linda Malin
- Joshua Plummer
- Andrew Waters
Warrants were filed for the following individuals:
- Michael Ly
- Nhat Ly
- Ung Ken Ly
The wide range of felony and misdemeanor charges they face include trafficking in marijuana, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, money laundering and illegal assembly of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs. The warrants filed for the three other individuals face similar charges.
When arrests were made in the case, officers recovered an additional $607,000 and 270 pounds of marijuana, which according to Clermont County Assistant Prosecutor Darren Miller, has an estimated value of $500,000. Twelve vehicles used in the operation were also seized.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with any other information is asked to call the Clermont County Prosecutor's Office at 513-732-7585.