Hilliard police drug-trafficking investigation yields 51 felony counts

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
Several firearms, stolen checks and other items were seized June 11 after Hilliard Division of Police used a search warrant on a apartment on Longlining Road in Columbus, just outside New Albany. Fraudulent and stolen documents, two fraudulently purchased vehicles, two pounds of marijuana and $7,129 in cash also were seized.

Nine people recently were indicted on 51 felony charges related to an investigation that began in February and included a March 5 search warrant at a residence at 3609 Sparrow Court in Hilliard, according to the Hilliard Division of Police.

A Franklin County grand jury on Nov. 12 issued the indictments.

In February, Hilliard detectives had received a tip regarding suspicious activity at the Sparrow Court residence and learned the occupants were renting the house using a false identity and engaging in drug trafficking, said police spokeswoman Andrea Litchfield.

Sparrow Court is in the new Heritage Preserve neighborhood on the western boundary of Hilliard.

The March 5 search warrant yielded 20 pounds of marijuana, nearly $90,000 in cash and a stolen firearm, police said.

During the next several months, six more search warrants were issued, including for locations in Columbus, Gahanna and near New Albany.

The search of an apartment on Longlining Road in Columbus on the border of New Albany resulted in the seizure of narcotics, firearms, false IDs and thousands of stolen checks, including federal stimulus checks, police said.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office were involved in the investigation, which revealed “a sophisticated criminal enterprise” in which the suspects “fraudulently secured residences and vehicles under various aliases to further their drug-trafficking enterprise,” Litchfield said.

All nine people indicted – eight from Columbus and one from Canal Winchester – have been charged with multiple felonies, including trafficking in drugs, possession of drugs, engaging a pattern of corrupt activity, forgery and having weapons under disability.

Hilliard police Chief Robert Fisher said a statement the crimes are “reprehensible” when perpetrated during a pandemic and economic recession.

“This is a great result from the efforts of our special-investigations-unit detectives to keep our community, as well as others in central Ohio, safe,” Fisher said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo