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Authorities claim takedown of major Athens Co. drug ring

The prosecutor in Ohio's Athens County says now would be a good time for anyone considering illegal prescription pill use to seek treatment services. He says that's because a major source of such products is now out of the picture.

His suggestion follows the takedown of what is alleged to be a Glouster-based drug trafficking ring that has operated for years in Athens and Meigs Counties. The comments follow word of the arrest last week of a former Detroit police officer who is suspected of being the ring's leader and main supplier.

Officials say the 29-year-old man has been indicted on 12 felony counts of drug trafficking, drug possession and racketeering. The defendant was reportedly taken into custody in Atlanta, purportedly as he tried to leave the country. He is due to be arraigned in Athens County later this month.

The arrest follows a multi-month investigation that involved authorities from three states and two federal agencies. According to news reports, multiple defendants have already pleaded guilty. Those that have followed that route are said to have been sentenced to between eight and 10 years.

Authorities say a number of other defendants are still facing trial in the case. They include the man that is alleged to be the local Athens-area ringleader and a former Chauncey police chief who is alleged to have been the group's "protector."

Prosecutors claim that the ring earned somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.4 million since it allegedly began operating in 2009.

The sentences that have been meted out in this case and those that are likely to follow if remaining defendants are found guilty should serve as a reminder of just how devastating a conviction for drug distribution can be. Anyone facing such charges should make contacting an experienced attorney the top priority.

Source: The Athens News, "Prosecutor fills in details of ‘drug kingpin’ arrest," David DeWitt, July 30, 2014 

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