BOSTON HEIGHTS — Federal agents say they have made what is “believed to be the largest seizure of meth in Ohio history,” after uncovering an alleged manufacturing operation on Olde Eight Road, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The investigation involved a motel in Macedonia and a pair of Mexican nationals living at the Residence at Barrington Apartments in Aurora.
Cleveland resident Tyrone Rogers, 36, and Hector Manuel Ramos-Nevarez, 26, and Gilbert Treviso-Garcia, 24, both from Mexico, are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to a Justice Department press release issued Tuesday.
They were arrested March 24 in Aurora after DEA agents seized approximately 82 pounds of crystal meth and about 60 pounds of liquid meth from in a multi-tenant building located at 7592 Olde Eight Road, about a half mile north of the Brandywine Road intersection.
Keith Martin, DEA assistant special agent for the Northeast Ohio District, said Tuesday that Boston Heights police assisted in the warehouse’s search and Aurora police assisted in the arrests.
He said the seizure represents “hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of meth.”
Martin said the three men are in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service.
According to court documents, Rogers traveled from Cleveland to the La Quinta Inn in Macedonia in March, where he picked up two men later identified as Ramos-Nevarez and Treviso-Garcia. Together, they traveled to a residence at 226 Barrington Place East in Aurora. Rogers several times drove the two men between Barrington Place East and the location on Olde Eight Road, which appeared to be a crystal methamphetamine processing facility used to make, package and distribute the drug.
Authorities used a delayed-notice warrant — meaning no notification was left that they had entered and seized 82 pounds of crystal meth from the Olde Eight Road location. Authorities said they later listened to phone calls between the men in which the men speculated about who had broken into the facility. They said Rogers got the “green light” from an individual believed to be a Mexican supplier, to kill the person Rogers believed stole his drugs. Rogers said people were going to “knock his head in,” according to court documents.
Martin said Aurora police, in cooperation with federal investigators, arrested Rogers, Ramos-Nevarez and Treviso-Garcia on March 24. It was believed they were going to kill the person they incorrectly believed took the drugs. Investigators later found the additional 60 pounds of liquid meth during a second search of the Olde Eight Road building. A search of other locations associated with Rogers resulted in the seizure of four firearms, according to court documents.
“This is a pretty big deal because of the amount,” said Martin. “It’s a large amount of meth and we’re sending a strong message to the cartel that if you’re bringing your dope into Ohio, we’re going to get it and we’re going to put your people in jail.”
The methamphetamine case is being investigated by the Cleveland DEA Task Force, which includes representatives from the Lake County Narcotics Agency, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Euclid Police Department, Aurora Police Department, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Boston Heights Police Department, Cleveland Heights Police Department, Cleveland Division of Police, Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and U.S. Border Patrol. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa T. Darden.
“We didn’t just stumble on these guys,” said Martin. “This is something we've been working awhile.”
Authorities say the seizure of the meth came the same week another Mexican national was arrested with approximately 44 pounds of heroin on Route 8 in Akron. Octavio Barragan-Manzo was indicted Tuesday on one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin.
Barragan-Manzo was arrested on after he was found with 20 kilogram-sized packages containing heroin during a March 21 traffic stop, according to court documents.
An Ohio State Highway Patrol canine positively alerted to the presence of drugs. Law enforcement officers then located 20 brick-shaped objects which later tested positive for heroin. A subsequent search of a location in Akron resulted in the seizure of three pistols, a rifle and a shotgun, according to court documents.
The Barragan-Manzo case was investigated by the DEA, Akron Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Summit County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Henry F. DeBaggis.
Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, or firstname.lastname@example.org.