DAYTON — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Steve Francis, and members of the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force announced Friday the seizure of approximately 400 pounds of marijuana in connection with an investigation into a large-scale marijuana distribution organization operating between Dayton and Columbus.
Investigators with the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force arrested Victor Guadiana, 54, of South Houston, Texas, and David Garcia-Barajas, 25, last night. Garcia-Barajas is not a United States citizen.
Members of the task force began investigating Guadiana earlier this year. Following a traffic violation last night, authorities conducted a traffic stop and found approximately 100 pounds of marijuana in Guadiana’s vehicle. Upon gathering additional evidence, task force agents served a search warrant on a home on Gideon Lane in Columbus, where authorities found an additional 300 pounds of marijuana and $20,000 in cash.
“Those looking to traffic drugs in the Miami Valley should know that they are going up against a very skilled drug task force,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Through the cooperation of local, state, and federal officials, this task force continues to remove large quantities of drugs from the streets.”
“This is another example of the ongoing battle against citizens from Mexico illegally entering the United States and bringing in illegal drugs into our communities,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer. “It’s a collaborative effort between federal, state and local agencies that continues to make our work successful.”
“These arrests and significant seizures demonstrate the true power of multi-agency collaboration, which is essential to our ability to disrupt and dismantle drug trafficking organizations,” said Steve Francis, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. “The evidence collected as part of this ongoing investigation will ensure the case expands and leads to the dismantling of the entire organization, which is the ultimate goal.”
Both Guadiana and Garcia-Barajas are being federally charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Ohio. The defendants appeared in court this afternoon and were charged with possession with intent to distribute in excess of 100 kilograms of marijuana.
The Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force, which is part of the Ohio Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, is led by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and includes representatives from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Miami Township Police Department, Butler Township Police Department, Montgomery County RANGE Task Force, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.
Those with tips on illegal drug activity in the Miami Valley can contact the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force at 937-225-6272.