EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Several dozen people are behind bars Tuesday afternoon as Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced one of the biggest drug operations in the opioid crisis to date.
More than 100 people are now facing more than 750 charges related to “Operation Big Oak,” an investigation into an alleged fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin and cocaine drug trafficking ring.
Drug Task Force Leader Detective Lt. Brian McLaughlin said it may be the largest case in Columbiana County’s history.
“This is a very successful case. I am very pleased with the outcome. I’m pleased with the number of people heading to the county jail at this point,” McLaughlin said.
Out of the alleged four ringleaders, two are in handcuffs – 46-year-old Jermaine Jackson of Garfield Heights and 28-year-old Tremaine Jackson of Cleveland – and two are still at large – 25-year-old Allen Jackson of Cleveland and 30-year-old Anthony Jackson of Cleveland Heights.
Police currently have 22 people in custody. A full list of trafficking suspects in custody as of noon Tuesday can be found on the Attorney General’s website.
DeWine was joined by law enforcement officers from Columbiana County, the Columbiana County Drug Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Services as he announced the arrests.
DeWine said Ohio investigators followed the heroin as far as they could- saying it was coming from cartels in Mexico. He said the drug ring sold more than 1.4 million lethal doses of drugs in Columbiana County.
“That’s enough fentanyl, enough carfentanil, to kill not only every single person in Columbiana County but also every man, woman and child in these 11 neighboring counties,” DeWine said. “Today’s arrest will send a message to the drug dealers. We are serious, and we are in fact coming after you.”
The operation was part of the Cuyahoga County “Down The Way” gang, whose distribution network stretched from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.
This investigation is still unfolding and people are still being taken into custody.
Two suspects are charged with felony assault for allegedly exposing an East Liverpool police officer to fentanyl during a traffic stop earlier this year.