Four people were arrested Tuesday morning on charges related to running a marijuana ring between Tucson, Arizona, and Columbus, including locations near a Delaware County shopping mall.
Investigators say they have seized more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana and more than $1.2 million in cash in connection to the case.
While conducting surveillance, police said they saw the suspects renting and driving large vehicles such as a U-Haul, Dodge Durango and Landstar Ranger semi-tractor trailer and meeting at locations near Polaris Fashion Place in Delaware County before following one another to a nearby hotel.
Initial court appearances for the accused were scheduled Wednesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King.
Those arrested include:
• Damian Edwards, 38, of Columbus.
• Hopie Dawn Edwards, 34, of Columbus.
• Theo Lavelle Smith, 33, of Columbus.
• German Alfredo White, 53, of Jacksonville, Florida.
According to court documents, detectives with Columbus police and the Central Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force began in investigation into a multi-kilogram marijuana drug ring in November 2015. Detectives said they learned large shipments were being imported into Columbus on a monthly basis by a male named “Lucky,” later identified as Damian Edwards, a Jamaican native.
The suspects were each charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, a crime punishable by a range of 10 years up to life in prison, and a $10 million fine, according to authorities.
Announcing the arrests Wednesday were Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Joseph P. Reagan, special agent in charge, Drug Enforcement Administration; Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs; and other members of Central Ohio HIDTA Task Force. The HIDTA Task Force is operated as part of the Ohio Attorney General’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission.
Information for this story was provided by the office of U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart of the Southern District of Ohio.