WARREN - Agents with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration seized supplies to grow marijuana after serving search warrants at six different locations in the city Thursday.
Agents also arrested three people during the operation, which Silverio Bolzano, agent in charge of the Youngstown DEA office, said began with an investigation in March 2008.
Grow operations were found in homes on Heather Lane, Elm Road, North Street and Vine Avenue, and about 200 marijuana plants in different stages of growth were also taken.
At Woodland Avenue, Heather Lane and at Cox Construction, 715 Woodland Ave., more than a pound of powder cocaine was found in paint and coffee cans. Bolzano characterized the operation as moderate.
Arrested were Brian M. Cox, 46, and Timothy Cox, 45, who Bolzano said are brothers, and 25-year-old Joseph McCready, all of Warren. Arraignment information was unavailable Friday.
Bolzano said he was unsure of their status, but did say they were not being detained. There was no record of their proceedings on the U.S. Northern District Court website.
Bolzano said the marijuana was being grown to be sold, but he would not say if they were selling it themselves or giving the marijuana to someone else to sell.
At the 1608 Mahoning Ave. address a pair of men were mowing the yard, and one of them said they would have no comment.
A man who answered the door at the Vine Avenue address said he would have no comment. The Elm Road business is a boarded up building that has a Fat Cat Tattoos sign on it.
A woman who lives next door said through her window she did not want to comment.
The 643 Vine Ave. N.E. home that was raided is two houses down from a home on the corner of Washington Street and Vine where a man was killed and another wounded in January during a shootout in the parking lot. Both men from were Detroit and had a record of drug offenses.
Bolzano said it is hard to estimate how long the men were growing the marijuana before the investigation began. He said the men were using Warren as a base to distribute the marijuana throughout Trumbull County.
In November 2006, Warren police and the FBI raided Cox Construction after they learned of several high-stakes, invitation-only poker games being held. In that raid, police seized gambling equipment and about $15,000 in cash.
A firearm also was found during Thursday's searches as well as documents and records, which were taken from 1608 Mahoning Ave., Bolzano said.
Helping in the investigation was the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the East Liverpool Police Department, Portage County Sheriff's Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the St. Clair Police Department.
The DEA Task Force is made up of officers from several different local law enforcement agencies in Mahoning and Columbiana counties, as well as the Portage and Mahoning County sheriff's offices.
June 19, 2010
By JOE GORMAN
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