CINCINNATI — Thirty-seven people, including 25 from the Tri-State, have been arrested and charged in a drug conspiracy case spanning from California to Mexico to a pair of small businesses in Cincinnati.
According to a federal indictment, Tri-State Jewelers on Race Street and Nationwide Automotive Group on Vine Street used nondescript storefronts to launder, package and move cash for a nationwide network of drug traffickers.
The suspects had been involved for years in the sale of fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, according to the indictment. Arresting all of them took a week.
"This is a long-term investigation," Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Brian McNeal said Tuesday night. "To seize that much cocaine that’s made its way into southern Ohio is a huge deal and speaks to the level of (the traffickers') organization to bring that much cocaine into this region.”
In a series of raids, government agencies seized more than half a million dollars in cash, 19 pounds of fentanyl, three pounds of heroin, 100 pounds of cocaine, 42 pounds of meth, 47 weapons, 12 vehicles, the inventory of the jewelry store, jewelry belonging to the defendants and various properties, all valued at approximately $1.1 million.
"Those are huge numbers, and to get it off the street is a big win for many people," McNeal said. "To pull 19 pounds of fentanyl off the streets in any region is a huge deal, not just Cincinnati."
Officials said they believe proceeds from their drug sales bought over $2.5 million in jewelry and cars between December 2018 and July 2019. Officials also think over $800,000 was laundered through Nationwide Automotive between November 2018 and April 2019. It is believed the defendants laundered at least $3.3 million total.
The indictment said two additional "drug premises" on Prosser and Glenmore avenues were also under the defendants' control.
The full list of defendants is below:
|Jose Daniel Zazueta-Hernandez, aka Jesus Bojorquez, aka Dany||40||Wisconsin|
|William F. Graham, III||52||Cincinnati|
|Carlos Flores-Inzunza||31||Sinaloa, Mexico|
|Daniel Montez Blaine||50||Cincinnati|
|Raymond James Edwards, Jr.||53||Cincinnati|
|Carl Rena Gilbert||60||Cincinnati|
|Cardale A. Goens||32||Cincinnati|
|Ayman Anis Al Hajjeh||27||Wisconsin|
|Frances Alexia Mercado||24||Atlanta|
|Joel Salcedo||23||Las Vegas|
|Christopher William Talley||36||Cincinnati|
|Vilma Vidal-Flores||47||Las Vegas|
|Harold Lamar Walker||41||Cincinnati|
|Brandon Terrell Willis||43||Cincinnati|
|Ivan Courtney Johnson||39||Cincinnati|
|Vyacheslav Minyalo, aka Slavik||46||Cincinnati|
|Dewayne Lamont Walker||47||Cincinnati|
Agents and officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the DEA, the Internal Revenue Service, Homeland Security, the United States Marshals and various Ohio and Kentucky law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation and arrests.