MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Sheriff’s Office has warrants out for the arrest of five co-conspirators related to the drug distribution ring uncovered Wednesday.
According to Chief Deputy Dave Duchak, five more subjects have also been indicted on charges relating to the Tipp City heroin and methamphetamine operation.
Warrants have been issued for Dora N. Avendano, 37, and Hugo Avendano, 31, both formerly of Tipp City; Ricardo Mondragon, 26, formerly of Dayton; Jose Galvin, 32, formerly of New Carlisle; and Jose Barajas, 34, formerly of Huber Heights, with all subjects whereabouts unknown as of press time. There is no photo provided of Barajas at this time.
“This investigation is ongoing, indictments were handed down for corrupt activities, racketeering against this organization, against eight individuals — three are in custody,” Duchak said. “The other five do have active warrants out of Miami County are still at-large. We believe some of them are out of state, some of them may be in Mexico. So we are asking for the public’s assistance so we are able to locate some of these individuals.”
According to officials, the investigation started two years ago when the drugs were initially seized from Tipp City homes.
A lien has been placed on a Tipp City property on Bel Aire, the 109 N. First St. residence, as well as seven vehicles, an ATV, and approximately $600,000 in U.S. currency has been seized.
“Approximately two years ago, give or take, our detectives received information of the importation and distribution of methamphetamine and heroin in large amounts into Miami County and surrounding counties in the Miami Valley,” Duchak said. “Through their investigation as it expanded over time, it ended up working in collaborating with many law enforcement agencies, both at the state and federal level.”
Agencies included the Tipp City Police Department, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and RANGE Task Force, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, Currency Task Force and the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office.
“The heroin scourge, and we are seeing an increase in methamphetamine, is devastating all of our communities,” Duchak said. “We will stringently enforce Ohio’s trafficking laws in Miami County. I can’t emphasize enough that we have to continue our partnership with the public on this because this is a battle that is devastating all of our communities.”
Duchak said the investigation is another great example of the collaboration of local, state and national agencies.
Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell said the Tipp City drug ring is a perfect example of drug activity with ties to the Mexican drug cartels.
“When we have this going on we are going to prosecute it to the fullest extent of the law and we are going to use the statues that have been provided for us so we can get these people locked up and off the streets,” Kendell said. “For our county, (this is) huge. In just a four to six month period, we are talking almost 80 pounds of heroin and methamphetamine being distributed — and that’s just what we know about.”
Kendell said the bust has shut down a channel of large-scale drug distribution.
“This sends a message to those who feel like they want to come set up shop,” Kendell said.
Duchak said the sheriff’s office is working with the Department of Homeland Security and the International Customs and Immigration to identify if the subjects are Mexican nationals, but are not releasing the information at this time.
If you have information regarding the whereabouts of the five individuals with active warrants, call local law enforcement and 9-1-1 immediately. The Miami County Sheriff’s Office also has an anonymous tip line online at www.miamicountysheriff.org.
Reach Melanie Yingst at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews