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17 charged in California to Ohio drug pipeline

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Investigators say a "very large" amount of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana was being sent from the west coast to northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND, Ohio (CNN) – Before dawn Tuesday, dozens of local, state and federal officers hit the streets, armed with arrest warrants they targeted 17 people indicted on federal charges.

The early morning round-up is connected to an alleged California to Cleveland drug conspiracy.

Investigators say a “very large” amount of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana was being sent from the west coast to northeast Ohio.

The dope was making its way to the midwest by domestic shipping, according to Bridge Brennan, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio.

“It was always disguised in some way, and the package would really vary on the size of the shipment,” she said. “It is a significant amount of drugs moving through a third party carrier.”

The feds say some of the people indicted used guns to protect their drugs, while others laundered tens of thousands of dollars in drug money.

“Once they were able to distribute this vast amount of narcotics through northeast Ohio — and they obviously make a lot of money doing it — they would turn around and take cash — bulk cash — conceal it in drums and keyboards and ship it back to California,” Brennan said.

By the time the sun came up in California, local, federal and state authorities had at least five people in custody.

“Drug traffickers are dangerous, especially ones who are charged with firearms in connection with their drug stashes. That’s a very significant threat,” Brennan said.

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