Officer among 11 charged with marijuana trafficking conspiracy

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Authorities arrested 11 suspects who are charged with an 18-count indictment alleging they conspired to bring hundreds of kilograms of marijuana into Cincinnati from Texas.

Lee Wurzelbacher, 41, Kevin Howard, 29, James "Rat" Reimer, 30, Daniel Roos, 31, Joe "Tall J" Rivers, 35, James Wurzelbacher, 61, and Bryon Roos, 42, are from Hamilton and Butler Counties. Javier Gonzales Perez, 34, Daniel Lozano, 33 and Aldo Medina, 33, are from the Brownsville, Texas area.

All 11 men are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana and face at least 10 years and up to life in prison.

The indictment alleges Lee Wurzelbacher began receiving shipments of marijuana in 2006 concealed in the gas tanks of vehicles at Payless Autos on Pippin Road in Cincinnati. Wurzelbacher and Bryon Roos operated the used car businesses, Payless Autos and Ace 1 Auto Sales, to appear to have a legitimate source of income while laundering illegal drug money.

Roos is 13-year veteran officer in North College Hill.

According to North College Hill Police, Roos has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Police emphasized that the charges are not connected to his performance as a police officer, but stem from his used car business.

A press release from North College Hill Police says, "It is the hope of the police department that this matter comes to a quick resolution in Bryon's favor so he my return to duty."

The indictment also alleges the marijuana was shipped to Ohio in crates containing tile and granite countertop bars by commercial freight companies and delivered to locations in Hamilton and Butler Counties.

"The indictment also alleges that conspirators also laundered the proceeds of the marijuana trafficking by purchasing eleven pieces of real estate and a boat," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart.

The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering, which are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison, illegally structuring financial transactions, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, attempt to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, punishable by at least five years and up to 40 years in prison.

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved.