By: Erin Couch
Prosecutors say Tri-State Jeweler on Race Street and Nationwide Automotive on Vine Street were both used to launder proceeds from a narcotics conspiracy that took place between March 2016 through October 2019.
According to the indictment, the conspiracy involved at least 400 grams of fentanyl, at least 500 grams of methamphetamine and at least 5 kilograms of cocaine. Prosecutors say defendants conspired to possess and intended to distribute the drugs.
The indictment indicates cash was stored at the two businesses, where it was hidden and then transported to and from the Cincinnati area.
Prosecutors say at least $3.3 million in drug proceeds total had been laundered.
According to the office, federal agents seized 19 pounds of fentanyl, three pounds of heroin, 100 pounds of cocaine, 42 pounds of meth, 47 weapons, 12 vehicles, jewelry store inventory, and $1.1 million in assorted jewelry from defendants and residences, all valued at $1.1 million. They also seized more than $500,000 in cash.
Tri-State Jewelers is accused of storing at least $2.5 million total between December 2018 and April 2019. Nationwide Automotive is accused of laundering at least $800,000.
They cite three July incidents at Tri-State Jewelers where the store reportedly sold jewelry pieces purchased with drug proceeds, totaling to $20,400. They say also in July Nationwide Automotive sold a vehicle for $38,800 reportedly purchased narcotics proceeds
Twenty-two of the 37 defendants are local to Cincinnati, according to the office.
The 37 defendants include: