YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A phone call from Miami in late 2018 led to an investigation that culminated last week in the indictment of two people for having 101 pounds of cocaine and $1.2 million cash.

The revelation came to light as a member of the Youngstown Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force who took part in the investigation testified at a detention hearing in the U.S. Northern District Court Of Ohio for one of the two men indicted, Vincent Barber, 59, of Gibson Street.

Barber was arrested at his home Tuesday as the result of an indictment stemming from a Feb. 13, 2019, search warrant served at three houses he owns or uses on Gibson Street where investigators seized over $1.2 million in cash in a garage as well as three guns and 51 pounds of cocaine. In the other two homes, investigators found crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

Investigators also served a search warrant the same day at a home in the 300 block of Potomac Avenue that authorities say co-defendant Ramon Wright, 54, used to store drugs. Under the hood of an abandoned car in the drive, agents found 46 pounds of cocaine and a handgun.

Wright is not in custody. He has been on the run since the day the warrant was served in 2019.

Both men were charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, fentanyl and heroin and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug crime. The indictment in the case was issued April 13 but unsealed Tuesday when Barber was arrested.

It is believed to be one of the largest seizures of drugs and money in Youngstown’s history.

Several of the charges Barber and Wright face carry a potential penalty of life in prison and minimum prison terms of five or 10 years.

The government has asked that Barber be held without bail pending trial. U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Parker said he will issue a ruling soon on the government’s request following a hearing that lasted a little over an hour via Zoom.

The DEA agent testified that an investigation into Barber and Wright began after they received a call from the DEA office in Miami in late 2018. The Miami office told their Youngstown counterparts that they received word from a confidential informant that either a drug cartel or drug trafficking organization had asked the informant to travel to Youngstown to get some cash.

The agent testified that the cartel or drug trafficking organization did not know the man they were asking to make the trip to Youngstown was a confidential informant.

Agents began surveillance of Barber and just before 1 p.m. on Feb. 8, 2019, they noticed Barber and Wright, driving separate vehicles, leave one of the houses on Gibson Street that authorities say Barber was using to store drugs.

Wright was doing “counter surveillance,” the DEA agent testified, but investigators were still able to track Barber to the parking lot of a Wendy’s fast-food restaurant on Market Street. There, Barber got out of his vehicle with a black bag, which he put in the vehicle of the confidential informant and then drove away.

The bag was later revealed to have $300,000 cash, the agent said.

Barber and Wright split up and so did investigators, the agent testified. As they followed Wright to what they believed was Farrell, Pa., he was driving several miles per hour under the speed limit, a sign that he had probably realized he was being followed, so the investigators broke off surveillance.

A few days later, members of the Youngstown DEA office served the federal search warrant in the case where they found the guns and drugs.

When Barber was arrested Tuesday, the agent testified, investigators found about $8,000 worth of heroin, cocaine and marijuana in his home as well as several live .22-caliber rounds and 20 rounds of .380-caliber ammunition.

Under cross examination from defense attorney James Campbell, the DEA agent said he had never seen Barber physically carry a gun. He said in the years between when the warrant was served and Barber was arrested, they spot checked his properties from time to time to keep up on what vehicles he may have been driving.

Campbell said his client should be granted bond. He told Judge Parker his client has not been in trouble with the law since 2005, and he stayed in the same house that was raided over three years ago and never sought to leave.

“If this guy was as dangerous as they say, why wasn’t he arrested then?” Campbell asked.

Campbell said his client is the sole caregiver for his 80-year-old mother and he is also agreeable to house arrest as part of any kind of bond.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Yasmine Makridis said that Barber should be denied bail because he is a danger to the community. She said the serial number was rubbed on one of the guns Barber had, which means it would be hard for the gun to be traced if it was ever used in a crime. She also said that even though a search warrant was served at his houses before, he still had large quantities of drugs around when he was arrested Tuesday that were obviously for sale.

“He still continued to engage in drug transactions,” Makridis said.

Judge Parker did not give a timetable on when he will issue his ruling but said it will be soon.