LIMA — Search warrants executed July 13 and 14 resulted in one of the largest seizures of fentanyl in Lima and Allen County so far.
Allen County Sheriff Matt Treglia and Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin held a news conference Monday at the sheriff’s office to shed some light and scope of the seizure. Raids were conducted at 1405 Hazel Ave. and at 705 Michael Ave.
The Hazel Avenue raid yielded $128,000 in cash and 11.5 kilograms of suspected fentanyl powder, along with 3,200 suspected pills, crack cocaine, marijuana, drug paraphernalia and firearms. Also confiscated was an electric commercial-grade pharmaceutical pill press.
The Michael Avenue raid yielded multiple firearms, two narcotic manufacturing presses, various narcotics and electronic devices.
Andrew Taylor, 39, now faces federal charges. Taylor had rented the property on Hazel Avenue, while his girlfriend, who has not been charged, rented the Michael Avenue property.
“Taylor had been on the run for multiple years, utilizing numerous aliases, many altered identifications, and moving throughout the United States,” Treglia said. “Taylor also had multiple warrants in various states with his various aliases.”
The West Central Ohio Crime Task Force received help from the Federal Bureau of Investigation in bringing Taylor to justice.
“We were first tipped off by the U.S. Marshals and worked with the FBI to take him into custody on multiple warrants. He actually had pill presses where he was pressing this powder form of fentanyl into pills,” Treglia said.
Treglia said this will put a dent into drug traffic not only in Lima but the region and beyond.
“I think this even probably stretches way further than Lima. I think we could probably even get into Fort Wayne and maybe even Detroit with some of this. This is a very, very big seizure, one of the biggest that I can remember,” Treglia said.
Lima Police Chief Kevin Martin said the drugs seized represent lives saved.
“I just want to emphasize what the sheriff had mentioned about the potential overdoses that this much fentanyl represents. Roughly one-tenth of a gram of fentanyl is all it takes to cause, in many cases, a person to overdose,” Martin said.
”These are real lives that are being saved. When you look at the weapons that were involved too, that certainly can help to create further violence within our community. We’ve seen eight homicides already this year, and that’s too many. My guess is by getting the illegal weapons off the street then that will also contribute to a safer community as well.”
Allen County Prosecutor Juergen Waldick praised the effort of the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force.
“I think the officers involved in this from all the agencies should be commended. They did an outstanding job in this particular matter, and we’re very blessed to have outstanding law enforcement in our county,” Waldick said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.