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Published: Wednesday, March 07, 2018 @ 5:27 PM
— UPDATE @ 11:51 a.m. (MARCH 8):
Carroll and Conner pleaded not guilty to all charges they faced this morning in Miamisburg Municipal Court.
Carroll denied charges of tampering with evidence and inducing panic, court records show.
Conner did the same with those charges, in addition to a count of obstructing official business. Both are scheduled to return to court on March 16, records show.
UPDATE @ 10:30 a.m. (MARCH 8):
Two suspects in the lockdown this week of two West Carrollton schools are set to appear in court today.
Simon Carroll, 18, and Isaiah Conner, 20, are scheduled to appear in Miamisburg Municipal Court on charges stemming from Tuesday’s lock down of West Carrollton High School and Harold Schnell Elementary School, court records show.
Carroll of Morane is set to be arraigned on tampering with evidence and inducing panic, according to court records. Conner of West Carrollton is being arraigned today on tampering with evidence and inducing panic, court records show.
He also faces a possession of marijuana paraphrenia charge and an equipment violation in a case that is set for April 8, records indicate.
Both remain in the Montgomery County Jail, records show.
INITIAL REPORT (MARCH 7):
A social media video of a male with a gun in the parking lot of West Carrollton High School led to that building and another district school being locked down, court records show.
A video posted on Snapchat of a high school senior pointing a gun at a van in that building’s rear parking lot caused police to put the high school and Harold Schnell Elementary School on lockdown for nearly a half hour Tuesday, according to documents filed in Miamisburg Municipal Court.
Two suspects – including the senior – facing charges in the case said the weapon was a BB gun, court records show.
Simon Carroll, 18, and Isaiah Conner, 20, were in the Montgomery County Jail Wednesday on several charges.
Carroll is being held on suspicion of tampering with evidence and inducing panic, according to West Carrollton police. Conner is facing charges of tampering with evidence, inducing panic, and obstructing official business.
The schools were locked down from 1:15 to 1:43 p.m. Tuesday, records show. After the lockdown began, the two were stopped by Moraine police in the area of Dryden Road and East Main Street. The car was towed from the scene and a bag of marijuana was located inside it, records show.
“Carroll stated that Connor had a BB gun in his vehicle and he jokingly made a Snap Chat of him pointing the BB gun around” the parking lot, according to a statement of facts filed in court Wednesday. “Carroll said he was very sorry for what he did and apologized to the WCPD and the school.”
When Carroll and Conner heard about the lockdown, they decided to toss it into a storm drain on Lehigh Place in Moraine, according to court documents.
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 7:56 PM
DAYTON — - UPDATE, 9:02 p.m.:
The cat has been rescued, according to a Hospice of Dayton spokesperson.
Dayton fire and police personnel were able to remove the cat from the tree. The cat was said to be healthy and will be taken a local animal facility that accepts stray cats.
A cat with apparent injuries up in a tree on Hospice of Dayton grounds tonight has some people in the community concerned.
There have been posts on social media, including the WHIO Facebook page, and calls to our newsroom from people who want to get help for the animal.
We reached out to Hospice of Dayton, and officials there said they are working to resolve the issue.
Earlier, police were called to stop citizens from trying to retrieve the cat.
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 9:06 PM
GOLDEN ISLES, Ga. — A boater discovered a strange sea creature that washed ashore on a southeast Georgia beach.
Jeff Warren said he spotted the deceased animal Friday afternoon with his son at Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge in Golden Isles, Georgia.
At first, Warren thought the creature was a dead seal, but upon further investigation, he described it as looking more like a "Loch Ness-type thing."
With its elongated neck and small head, the sea animal, in a way, appeared to look like an animal from prehistoric times.
Action News Jax reached out to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more information on what kind of animal it could be.
Director Dan Ashe said some sea animals have a way of decomposing where they can resemble a Plesiosaur.
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 5:00 AM
Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 8:57 PM
— A quiet night is expected with temperatures overnight dropping into the lower 30s, Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Brett Collar said.
Monday: Clouds will increase through the day with highs in the lower to middle 50s. The chance for rain returns in the evening, and with temperatures falling past sunset, a few wet flakes may mix in as well.
Tuesday: The chance for snow is increasing, as more recent model runs are becoming more consistent and are agreeing more on the chance for snow. We’re calling for snow on Tuesday, some of which could be heavy at times. This snow looks to continue into Wednesday as well. Highs will be in the lower 40s early in the morning with most of the day staying in the 30s.
Wednesday: Snow is likely to continue into Wednesday, especially earlier in the day. By the time the snow wraps up, it looks like we’ll see a couple of inches of snow accumulation, however, there is still a lot of time between now and the event, allowing time for the track to change course. This will have a large effect on just how much snow we see. Temperatures will be in the upper 30s for the day.
Thursday: Partly sunny skies are expected with highs in the lower 40s.
Friday: A dry start is expected, but the chance for rain returns at night. Highs will be in the middle 40s.
Published: Sunday, March 18, 2018 @ 11:00 AM
MIDDLETOWN — Several years ago, Donte Holdbrook was a member of a Middletown High School football team who caught touchdown passes and a guard on the basketball team.
Today, Holdbrook, 24, is in federal custody as the accused ringleader of a drug trafficking organization that supplied dealers with fentanyl and heroin in Middletown and throughout southern Ohio. The organization, officials say, had ties to the notorious Sinaloa Drug Cartel in Mexico that was led by Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who also is in federal custody in New York awaiting trial on multiple charges.
Federal indictments were unsealed and announced last week against Holdbrook and 11 others alleging possession of drugs, interstate travel (to) facilitate unlawful activities and money laundering conspiracy. U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman of the Southern District of Ohio said the investigation disrupted and dismantled the local drug trafficking operation.
The multi-state investigation extended from Middletown to the West Coast into Mexico and caused the seizure of large quantities of cash, drugs and firearms. The investigation by local, county, state and federal agents took more than a year and also includes the indictments of more than 40 people in California and other areas as part of the alleged money laundering operation.
Undercover FBI agents and task force officers posed as managers and employees of a worldwide criminal organization engaged in money laundering and drug trafficking for months to get evidence that led to the mass indictment of those they say dealt millions of dollars worth of heroin and fentanyl.
According to the federal criminal affidavit and complaint filed Dec. 4, 2017, in the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, the FBI alleged Holdbrook knowingly and intentionally possessed with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing fentanyl.
The complaint also said during a Dec. 2, 2017, traffic stop in Middletown, Holdbrook abruptly parked the vehicle, got out and walked into an adjacent alley in an attempt to distance himself from the Dodge Ram pickup truck registered in his mother’s name. Middletown police approached Holdbrook, whose driver’s license was suspended, and he attempted to run away from police. Holdbrook was arrested for obstruction of official business and driving under suspension. The key to the vehicle was found on Holdbrook.
After a Middletown police canine sweep of the vehicle that detected narcotics, the vehicle was searched, and 369 grams of a heroin/fentanyl mix was found. So were two cell phones, various documents including a multi-entry Mexican visa bearing Holdbrook’s name, a Mexican government identification of another person and a receipt from a Phoenix, Ariz., hotel, according to the complaint.
The complaint noted the person whose ID was found in Holdbrook’s truck was involved in a separate traffic interdiction on April 18, 2017, west of Cincinnati, where authorities seized about $182,000 in a bulk cash transfer that was believed to include proceeds from illegal narcotics trafficking. The agents investigating that seizure said that person had communicated with Holdbrook’s telephone number.
While Holdbrook was in the Middletown police interview room, he tried to break his cellphone that he concealed in what investigators believe was “an attempt to destroy evidence related to illicit narcotics trafficking,” according to the complaint.
In the complaint, it was noted that U.S. Homeland Security records revealed that Holdbrook had made multiple recent trips to Mexico and that his criminal history included felony convictions of drug possession and tampering.
Last week’s indictment alleges that “fentanyl, heroin and other narcotic substances were processed, cut, packaged and stored prior to distribution to members of the conspiracy and/or customers, in safe locations, known as stash houses, located in and around the city of Middletown, Ohio, and elsewhere in the Southern District of Ohio. The defendants and others used stash houses to manufacture, prepare, process and store fentanyl, heroin, fentanyl mixtures, heroin mixtures, narcotics-processing and packaging materials, and monies obtained through the illegal sale of controlled substances, in order to avoid their detection.”
The indictment further alleged that Holdbrook coordinated the transfer of fentanyl and heroin from the Sinaloa Drug Cartel to Middletown and funneled or smuggled large amounts of bulk cash back to Mexico. Investigators witnessed at least seven bulk cash pick-ups within the Southern District of Ohio, six in Cincinnati and one at a Comfort Inn and Suites in West Chester. Transactions ranged from $25,000 to more than $180,000. Glassman said between $1 million and $10 million in cash was laundered through the operation.
Among the various charges in the indictment, the defendants are accused of distributing more than 400 grams of fentanyl and one gram of a mixed substance containing fentanyl.
An apartment on Aaron Drive where Frank Frazier Jr., 24, lived was a key location in the alleged drug ring, according to indictments. Frazier also is in federal custody, as are most of those who were listed in the indictment last week.
Middletown police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said the apartments were used because that’s where the suspects felt safe, and they knew people there.
Muterspaw said he was not worried about another drug trafficking organization picking up where the Holdbrook organization left off.
“I am not concerned because we have showed these drug gangs what will happen to them if they set up here,” Muterspaw said. “Every major drug ring that has come here has ended up in prison through state or federal sentencing.”
He said there are three active drug task forces working in Middletown, and police are adding additional police canines and drug interdiction officers in 2018 to make it even harder for them.