CINCINNATI – After DEA raids last week, 37 people were arrested in a drug sting that resulted in the seizure of 19 pounds of fentanyl, 100 pounds of cocaine, 42 pounds of methamphetamine, dozens of weapons and more, officials said.
The federal indictment alleges two Cincinnati businesses were used to launder proceeds from the narcotics conspiracy: Tri-State Jewelers and Nationwide Automotive.
Law enforcement agents said thousands of hours of work went into the “large scale” investigation, which began as early as August 2018. According to court documents, confidential sources were used along with GPS tracking of vehicles and wire intercepts of cell phone communications. Agents said covert video surveillance and trash searches were also utilized.
Vyacheslav Minyalo, also known as Slavik, was among those indicted. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, he is the owner of Tri-State Jewelers and vice president of Nationwide Automotive. He incorporated both businesses, according to state documents.
According to the indictment, in September 2018, Minyalo and the managers of each business, Yosi Ilouz and Dewayne Walker, conspired with two co-defendants in Chicago, two co-defendants in Wisconsin and one man in Sinaloa, Mexico to traffic narcotics.
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A total of 22 of those arrested are from the Cincinnati area. In addition to the Chicago, Wisconsin and Mexico suspects, others from California, Atlanta and Las Vegas were indicted.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, between December 2018 and April 2019, the defendants stored approximately $2.5 million at Tri-State Jewelers.
Officials said at least $800,000 was laundered at Nationwide Automotive between November 2018 and April 2019.
As part the investigation, the government has seized:
- More than half a million dollars in cash
- 19 pounds of fentanyl
- Three pounds of heroin
- 100 pounds of cocaine
- 42 pounds of methamphetamine
- 47 weapons
- 12 vehicles
- The inventory of Tri-State Jewelers
- Assorted jewelry belonging to defendants and homes valued at approximately $1.1 million
Four homes were among the seizures.
All of the homes have Derrick Bryant, the owner of a barber and beauty shop, or Golden Homes Investments listed as a current owner. Bryant is also indicted in the case. He is accused of trafficking cocaine.
On Oct. 22, law enforcement intercepted a call from Bryant to another co-defendant. Agents said Bryant told the man to stay away from Cincinnati: “Everyone is getting busted around here and everybody is snitching on everybody,” court documents state.
Officials said the defendants allegedly laundered at least $3.3 million in drug proceeds.
The narcotics conspiracy, in this case, is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life in prison. The money laundering conspiracy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
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