LANCASTER, OH (WCMH) – The Ohio Attorney General’s office announced Monday the indictment of 10 people, accused of running a major methamphetamine trafficking organization.
According to the Attorney General’s office, ten people are facing 60 felony charges as a result of ‘Operation Crystal Clear,’ a five-month investigation into the sale of meth in Fairfield and Licking Counties.
The investigation started after detectives say they found 52-year-old Timothy Hicks and 39-year-old Michael Hedges distributing large amounts of meth. The supply of meth was eventually traced back to 31-year-old Rashad L. Martin, of Reynoldsburg.
Martin allegedly sold bulk amounts of meth to Hedges and Hicks, who then used seven others to deal the drugs.
Martin, Hicks, and Hedges are each facing numerous charges including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and trafficking in drugs.
Authorities believe the methamphetamine that was allegedly trafficked by this organization was manufactured by Mexican drug cartels and transported to Ohio.
“Mexican drug cartels are not only pushing opioids into Ohio, but they are also flooding this state with cheap methamphetamine to get people hooked,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Right now we are seeing more methamphetamine submitted to our BCI crime laboratories than any other drug. As my office works to fight the opioid epidemic, we are also dedicated to stopping those who are dealing meth and putting money into the hands of cartels.”
“This investigation reflects our commitment to using every available tool, tactic, and resource to stem the tide of illegal drugs into Fairfield County,” said Prosecutor Witt. “It is a great example of state and local law enforcement working together to hold suppliers accountable.”
Over the course of the investigation, authorities served search warrants in Lancaster, Pataskala, and at the “Haunted Farm,” a Halloween attraction on Old Millersport Road in Pleasantville, where Hicks resides. The investigation led to the seizure of three pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $78,000. Investigators also confiscated nine firearms, approximately $30,000 in cash, four vehicles, and a stolen stump grinder valued at more than $38,000.
Other suspects facing drug charges as part of “Operation Crystal Clear” are:
- Jessica L. Ballard, 28, Lancaster
- Mark E. Bowers, 62, Groveport
- Charles C. Emrick Jr., 37, Newark
- Anthony A. Ficheria, 43, Hebron
- Reba L. Hyme, 23, Lancaster
- William B. Smith, 33, Lancaster
- Holly J. Watkins, 37, Lancaster