8 People Indicted In Multi-million Dollar Drug Operation
Authorities say a multi-million dollar drug operation was hidden within what appeared to be a legitimate business in a quiet suburb.
That's how investigators describe what they call one of the biggest drug raids in Fairfield County history.
They say the operation started to unravel last July when deputies were called out to a home because of a fight between the business owner and his wife.
Deputies found more than a domestic dispute.
Investigators say the drug operation was tucked away behind a Busey Road home in Violet Township, near Pickerington.
A quiet suburban home sits in the front of the property. Authorities say a warehouse full of drugs was in the back.
"Most of us that were involved were pretty shocked at the enormity of the operation," said Fairfield County Sheriff's Sergeant Lee Hawks. "It seemed very professional, but at the same time, all of the substances being sold were illegal."
10tv cameras were there in July as investigators showed off the drugs. The drugs were hidden in secret compartments inside what appeared to be common household products used to ship them across the country.
"The average law enforcement officer, since it has weight and a liquid feel to it, would not suspect that it's something couriering illegal drugs," said Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen at the time.
Thursday investigators revealed new details on what they found: large amounts of Kratom, an herbal drug grown in southeast Asia, and Hawaiian Baby Rosewood seed, which contains a chemical compound related to LSD.
Investigators call them emerging drugs of concern.
"Many of these synthetic drugs kind of skirt along the laws as far as what their makeup is," said Hawks.
State law now allows the emergency classification of such foreign drugs, something the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy did on the spot.
Investigators say 37 year old David Surratt Junior of Canal Winchester, was the owner of the front business, called Oncore Wholesale.
He is now indicted on five charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, trademark counterfeiting, and drug trafficking.
Also charged, Oncore employees: Sarah Surratt of Canal Winchester, Adam Haase of Columbus, Shawn Lewis of Columbus, David Highben of Columbus, Amanda Parsons of Lancaster, Kevin Wilt of Canal Winchester, and Jason Kibler of Reynoldsburg.
Investigators say the bust not only closed down a major operation, it provided new insight into the ever-changing tactics of the drug trade.
"Many, many years in narcotics, and I thought I was pretty familiar with a lot of the synthetics out there," said Hawks. "It was a new education for me as well."
Investigators believe the business took in more than $2,000,000 from illegal sales in the last three years.
They say while arresting David Surratt earlier this week, they discovered an additional warehouse full of drugs, this one on Groveport Road in Franklin County.
Additional charges could be on the way.