Sylvania Township recently took part in what is described as a multi-agency, multi-year investigation in what has resulted in indictments against 31 people for a number of narcotics conspiracy violations.

Police Chief Paul Long said the township police have had an officer assigned to the FBI-led drug task force for years.  The group’s efforts have led to many other prosecutions, but he added that it is rewarding to see now and then front-page attention paid to their efforts.

Due to the confidential nature of his work and that it is ongoing, the chief said it was decided that the officer shouldn’t speak publicly, but Chief Long added that it’s important for people to know that cases of this sort appear exciting when indictments are announced but they are the result of months and sometimes years of tedious, step-by-step procedures.

The police “know who they are looking for. They know who the bad guys are, but you have to build a case. You have to be able to prove it.

“It can take a long time,” particularly in building a case which has resulted in 31 people indicted. The activities of suspects can intersect with some defendants sometimes and others at other times.

It takes time to sort out suspects in a criminal enterprise of this size and scope.

Although most of the defendants are from Toledo, others are from Arizona and Mexico.

Chief Long acknowledged that none of those arrested are from Sylvania Township, but added that the victims of narcotics trafficking, the users, those who become addicted, those who overdose are in our community and everywhere in northwest Ohio.

Without being specific, the chief also noted that drug deals are often in large commercial parking lots and pointed out Sylvania Township has a number of them.

Although trying for specific measurements can be difficult, he said that sharing of information between other members of the Sylvania Township police, the task-force member and the township’s member of the DEA task force has enhanced township law enforcement.

He also noted that the FBI has paid for extensive training for the township officer in the ability to use cell phone towers to track suspects who are carrying a phone.

“He’s had all the training that’s available to non-federal agents,” the chief said, noting that the township recently used his skills to track a suspected burglar, arrest him, and charge him with a number of offenses committed in the township.

All of the alleged members of the drug ring are charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics, many face additional charges such as illegal possession of firearms and interstate travel in the conspiracy. As arrests took place, police seized a total of about $400,000, quantities of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl and a number of firearms.

U.S. District Court Judge James Carr has set a pretrial conference in the case for Dec 12.


Written by: Mike Jones, Public Information Officer

Posted: November 12, 2019

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