CINCINNATI -- A Clermont County grand jury on Tuesday indicted nine people on charges of trafficking in marijuana, using local restaurants to launder hundreds of thousands of ill-gotten dollars, and then using that money to gamble over $100 million at Jack Casino in 2017 alone.
Upon their arrests, officers recovered an estimated 270 pounds of marijuana and $607,000 cash.
The grand jury also issued warrants for three more people facing a similar buffet of drug and corruption charges.
According to a news release from the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office, investigators from Hamilton, Warren and Butler counties found evidence of money laundering at The Pacific Kitchen in Montgomery, Ohio; Ashlee’s Chicken in Cincinnati; Timmy’s Wok in Hamilton, Ohio; and a Washington-based property restoration business. They also used local warehouses to store drugs, deputies said.
"We believe that some of the people under indictment would drive to California," said Clermont County Assistant Prosecutor Darren Miller on Wednesday. "This is a large operation."
Although Jack Casino appeared to have been one venue the group used to clean their money, Miller said he did not believe the casino was complicit in their crimes.
"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," Miller said. "The gaming commission from Ohio had looked into it. I am certainly not indicating that Jack Casino was doing anything improper."
The indicted individuals, who collectively face a grab-bag of felony charges including trafficking in marijuana, possessing marijuana, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, money laundering and illegal assembly of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, are as follows: Bryan Fester; Zachary Fester; Cynthia Fester; Dylan Curless; Kirsten Heinrich; Kendall Hollis; Linda Malin; Josh Plummer and Andrew Waters.
Michael Ly of Butler County, Nhat Ly of Campbell County and Ung Ken Ly of Oakland, California, had warrants issued for their arrest.