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Guns, drugs confiscated in lengthy investigation

Published: Thursday, October 04, 2012 @ 2:25 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 04, 2012 @ 3:35 PM

A joint investigation into gun and drug trafficking in Dayton has led to one arrest and more than 30 guns being confiscated, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer announced Thursday.

Officers with the Montgomery County Regional Agencies Narcotics & Gun Task Force said the investigation spanned nine-months and there could be more arrests to come.

“These are violent criminals selling guns on the streets and causing problems in our neighborhoods,” Plummer said as he praised the work of the RANGE officers.

Dwight Stargell Sr., of 223 S. Ardmore Ave. in Dayton, is being held in the Butler County Jail and will be charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, dealing in firearms without a license, possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, distribution of cocaine and possession of a sawed off shotgun.

He was arrested at his home Wednesday where Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and RANGE task force detectives served a search warrant and confiscated three firearms, cocaine and marijuana.

A total of 35 firearms, nine of which have been identified as stolen, were recovered from Stargell’s home during two separate searches and through purchases by undercover officers. Three of those weapons are connected to the death of Dayton business owner Tommy Nickles in April, for which Stargell’s nephew Anthony Stargell Jr. has been indicted on murder and 22 other felony counts.

The firearms are mostly handguns, but also included a sawed off shotgun, two assault rifles with high capacity magazines and other rifles and shotguns.

“That will rip through your car, your vest, everything,” RANGE field commander Sgt. Mike Brem said about one of the assault rifles.

“Firearms trafficking is a crime that affects everybody,” said ATF Resident Agent in Charge Scott Chard. He said agents will work to track the weapons, determine where they came and return the stolen firearms to their owners.

RANGE detectives had been conducting an undercover investigation of Stargell for four months when his nephew was arrested April 11 in connection with Nickles’ slaying.

“We got information that one or multiple guns from a homicide had made their way over to Dwight’s house,” Brem said.

A search warrant was executed at Stargell’s home on April 19 and detectives found cocaine, marijuana, the sawed off shotgun, a pistol and ammunition. A firearm used in Nickles’ death was recovered at that time.

Anthony Stargell’s trial date has not been set. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but his lawyer submitted a motion to dismiss the death penalty specifications on Monday along with a dozen other motions requesting disclosure of various State’s evidence.

Anthony Stargell is accused of shooting both Nickles and his golden retriever to death in an apparent robbery at Nickles’ Quality One Electric business at 838 S. Main St. on April 3.

Dwight Stargell was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon and trafficking in counterfeit drugs in 2007 and sentenced to six months in prison.

Two injured after car crashes into Dayton building

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 12:28 AM

A car crashed into this building near the intersection of West Third Street and Moss Avenue Saturday morning. Malik Perkins/Staff

UPDATE @ 5:13 a.m.

One person has been taken to Miami Valley Hospital and another sent to Grandview Medical Center following a crash at the intersection of West Third Street and Moss Avenue Saturday morning, according to dispatchers.

Dispatchers said the conditions of both victims remain unknown at this time.

EARLIER REPORT

A car has reportedly crashed into a Dayton home Saturday morning. 

Dayton crews were dispatched to the crash at the intersection of West Third Street and Moss Avenue around 12:05 p.m. 

Initial reports indicate two people at the scene are injured. 

Dispatchers could not comment on the severity of either victim's injuries, but said medics have yet to leave the scene.

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Warren County arts community vote settles zoning case

Published: Saturday, June 24, 2017 @ 8:00 AM


            Ramesh Malhotra in 2011 in Mason, where his property management business is located. He wants to develop an arts community near Lebanon. FILE
            Samantha Grier

When Warren County commissioners approved rezoning 20 acres for a proposed arts community, they also ended a zoning violation case.

On Tuesday, commissioners approved rezoning of Theatre 42 property at 2752 U.S. 42 in Union Twp. for a planned development by Ramesh Malhotra, an entrepreneur also involved in redevelopment of two sites in Franklin as centers for spirituality and the arts.

“I’m neither an artist or a singer or an actor. I try to help the artist,” Malhotra said in a telephone interview after the rezoning.

Malhotra described himself as a “spiritual capitalist.”

MORE: Malhotra redeveloping Catholic church in Franklin

The arts community plan was developed after the property was cited for a code violation after property was changed from the Living Tree Community Church to a theater used by the Mason Community Players, Zoning Inspector Mike Yetter said Tuesday.

Churches are permitted in residentially zoned areas, but not community theaters.

Malhotra is planning to open Ever One Performing Art Theaters in a developing corridor on U.S. 42 between Mason and Lebanon.

He already has the Malhotra Collection of Spiritual Art on display at a museum developed in an old home along the Great Miami River and multi-use trail at 318 River St. in Franklin. Malhotra said he has begun opening the museum on Wednesdays and Thursdays, as well as on weekends, for visitors from around the world and as interest grows.

MORE: Malhotra redeveloping Catholic church in Franklin

Before working on the theater plan, Malhotra said he plans to convert the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Franklin to the Oneness Harmony Center. Malhotra plans to seek donations and fees for musical and spoken-word presentations “to raise the individual spirit through meditation.”

The Harmony Center is expected to open in August in time to capitalize on visitors in Franklin for Downtown Saturday Nite, a local auto show held for more than 30 years. Malhotra looks for some of the show’s audience to also stop by the art museum.

In September or October, work is to begin on remodeling of the old Theatre 42 building, where the Mason Community Players (MCP) have been staging shows since 2015, before Malhotra took over a land contract for the property from Mason Mayor Victor Kidd.

MORE: Spiritual art museum opens in Franklin

“We are a part of the plan with the owner of the property,” Laureen Catlin, an MCP board member, said via email.

Their production of The Wiz is to open on July 14, and the group is soliciting donations to help make rent and subsidize improvements to the building.

“When you lease a space, there are rent and utilities to be paid,” the group said on its website. “And MCP tries to improve Theatre 42 as much as possible in order to make it more and more comfortable and accommodating to its performers, technicians and staff, and most importantly, for its audiences.”

Malhotra also plans to build a second building in anticipation of another group, such as a children’s theater group, moving to the center.

MORE: Mayor says new company fits city’s “strong culture of wellness and entrepreneurship”

Ultimately, plans show as many as six buildings, including a 27,900 square foot theater, on the property, which lacks sewers and much of which is in a flood plain.

“We appreciate your vision,” Commissioner Dave Young said before the unanimous vote to rezone the property from residential use to allow the planned-unit development in a neighborhood commercial business zone.

The land is owned Evan Ford but is under a land contract previously held by Kidd and the church and taken on by Malhotra, property records show.

At the meeting, Malhotra, based in Mason, said he would lease the buildings to groups and planned to open a music school in the existing building. He said the zoning violation complaint was made after the property passed from Kidd to him in 2016, although the theater had been operating in the former church building since 2015.

Commissioner Tom Grossmann quizzed Malhotra about the property’s ownership.

Grossmann lives in Mason and served on the city council and as mayor before his election as a county commissioner.

“I think it’s a great use,” he said. “I sure hope it works.”

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Malhotra, a coal broker and head of the Malhotra Group, based in Mason, said the projects fit his model for developing charitable businesses.

“I was given a gift to build businesses,” he said. “I have made enough money. I don’t really need more.”

Kidd said he sold the contract to Malhotra when his church mission changed and they no longer needed the property.

The development plan for the arts community still has to be reviewed by the commissioners.

“You’ll get to see it again,” Yetter said. “Ultimately, the commissioners will have the final say.”

CONTINUING COVERAGE

We are committed to coverage of issues of importance to Warren County, including recent stories about residents who fought a septic business and potential medical marijuana cultivation sites.

Medic dispatched to report of pedestrian strike in Germantown

Published: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 11:21 PM

Police on the scene of a reported pedestrian strike, in the 500 block of Dayton Germantown Pike in Germantown, have located the victim who is between two parked vehicles.

SEE: More trending headlines

A medic unit has been dispatched and CareFlight is being put on standby for the accident, reported at 11 p.m.

We have a crew on the way. We will update this developing report.

Stay with whio.com for breaking news.

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Man indicted in break-in, desecration of Miamisburg church

Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 @ 10:14 AM
Updated: Friday, June 23, 2017 @ 10:55 PM

UPDATE @ 10:55 p.m. (June 23)

A 25-year-old man was indicted today in connection to a break-in last month at Miamisburg Christian Church.

Joshua C. Mullins is charged with desecration, burglary and possession of criminal tools, according to a Montgomery County grand jury report. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

He was arrested after Miamisburg police responded around 8 a.m. May 31 on a report of a breaking and entering at the church, 1146 E. Central Ave. A church member who entered the sanctuary saw that someone had ransacked the building.

A police K-9 found the suspect, who has been held in the Montgomery County Jail since his May 31 arrest.

EARLIER (May 31)

Police arrested one person after responding this morning to the report that someone was inside the Miamisburg Christian Church.

Police said a church member entered the sanctuary this morning and saw that someone had ransacked the place. She left and called police to report the break-in.

Miamisburg officers and Montgomery County deputies responded around 8 a.m. to the church on East Central Avenue on a breaking and entering call. Police said a K-9 was able to locate the burglar, who was apparently looking for valuables to steal.

The suspect, whose identity has not been released, told officers that another person was in the church but no one else was found after an extensive search.

Check out our Miami Valley’s Most Wanted page

We’re working to gather more details on this developing story.