CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A federal grand jury has indicted 37 people as part of a suspected drug conspiracy that laundered at least $3.3 million in drug money using a jewelry store and a car dealership, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio said Tuesday.
Twenty-six of the people charged are from the Greater Cincinnati area, according to a statement issued by U.S. Attorney David DeVillers. Others are from Chicago, Atlanta, Wisconsin and one man is from Mexico. DeVillers' office said the government had seized more than $500,000 in cash, 19 pounds of fentanyl, three pounds of heroin, 100 pounds of cocaine, 42 pounds of methamphetamine, 47 weapons, 12 vehicles, the jewelry store inventory, other jewelry and residences of the defendants valued at $1.1 million.
"This is a very large seizure, not just for southern Ohio. This would be a large seizure anywhere," said Brian McNeal, a spokesperson for the Drug Enforcement Agency. "We're talking 19 pounds of fentanyl. That is a massive amount of fentanyl considering the amount the size of a grain of salt could be deadly."
Federal court documents name six people federal agents claim are main players in the drug and money laundering conspiracy. They are: Derrick Bryant, Maurice Jackson, Daniel Simmons, William Graham, Lashone Isom, Jesus Bojorquez and Carlos Florez-Inzunza. A federal criminal complaint claims Bryant laundered drug money by buying cars in cash.
"Even as drug conspiracies go this is, I won't say huge, but it's very big. Thirty-seven defendants is a lot in one case," said Jay Clark, a defense attorney representing Bryant.
Bryant was not one of the defendants who appeared in federal court Tuesday. Bryant owned a barbershop according to the complaint and has been convicted of drug charges in the past. Federal prosecutors said the conspiracy began in March 2016 and continued through October 2019.
"The way federal conspiracy law works, the three of us could know we're in the conspiracy together, but you have worked with three other people and I've worked with three people, you don't know the other six, so now we have 12 people in it already. It can grow exponentially without everybody knowing it," said Clark.
Federal agents raided Tri-State Jewelers on Race Street in downtown Cincinnati late last week. The agents said the store laundered drug money by accepting the funds for the sale of jewelry and stored $2.5 million in drug money there. Nationwide Automotive laundered at least $800,000 between November 2018 and April 2019, federal agents said.
Thirteen or 14 of the defendants appeared in federal court Tuesday afternoon for a detention hearing. The courtroom was full of attorneys, defendants and their family members. An overflow crowd of family members gathered in the hallway and were not allowed inside the packed courtroom.
Jose Daniel Zazueta-Hernandez, aka Jesus Bojorquez, aka Dany - Wisconsin
Derrick Bryant - Cincinnati
Daniel Simons - Hamilton
William F. Graham, III - Cincinnati
Carlos Flores-Inzunza - Sinaloa, Mexico
Jose Toquillas-Felix - Cincinnati
Lashone Isom - Cincinnati
Maurice Jackson - Hamilton
Daniel Montez Blaine - Cincinnati
Francisco Casique - California
Raymond James Edwards, Jr. - Cincinnati
Christopher Engle - Cincinnati
Radee Garrett - Cincinnati
Carl Rena Gilbert - Cincinnati
Cardale A. Goens - Cincinnati
Ayman Anis Al Hajjeh - Wisconsin
Xingui Lin - Chicago
Frances Alexia Mercado - Atlanta
Kymyatta Oatis - Cincinnati
Ernesto Rincon - Wisconsin
Andre Robinson - Cincinnati
Joel Salcedo - Las Vegas
Robert Smith - Cincinnati
Christopher William Talley - Cincinnati
Donald Thompson - Cincinnati
Vilma Vidal-Flores - Las Vegas
Harold Lamar Walker - Cincinnati
Stefan Walker - Cincinnati
Min Wang - Chicago
Nicholas White - Cincinnati
Brandon Terrell Willis - Cincinnati
Maurice Ringwood - Cincinnati
Ivan Courtney Johnson - Cincinnati
Vyacheslav Minyalo, aka Slavik - Cincinnati
Dewayne Lamont Walker - Cincinnati
Yosi Ilouz - Mason
Brady Cunningham - Cincinnati