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February 03, 2016  
Contact: Public Information Officer
Number: (313) 234-4310

Four People Charged in Large Marijuana Caper that Transported Thousands of Pounds from Arizona to Ohio
DEA and Columbus police seize 2,000 pounds of marijuana and more than $1.2 million in cash

FEB 03 (COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Four defendants were arrested on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016, on charges related to running a marijuana ring between Tucson, Ariz. and Columbus, Ohio. Investigators have seized more than 2,000 pounds of marijuana and more than $1.2 million in cash in connection with the investigation.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Joseph P. Reagan, Special Agent in Charge, of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Detroit Field Division, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs and other members of Central Ohio HIDTA (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Drug Task Force announced the arrests that took place today.

According to court documents, investigators initiated the investigation into a multi-kilogram marijuana drug ring in November 2015. Detectives learned large shipments were being imported into Columbus on a monthly basis by a male identified as Damian Edwards, a Jamaican native.

While conducting surveillance, law enforcement officials observed defendants renting and driving large vehicles and meeting at locations near the Polaris Shopping Place before following one another to a hotel nearby.

The defendants were each charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, a crime punishable by a range of 10 years up to life in prison, and a $10 million fine.

Initial court appearances for the arrestees occurred on February 3rd before U.S. Magistrate Judge Norah McCann King. They include:

Damian Edwards, 38, of Columbus; Hopie Dawn Edwards, 34, of Columbus; Theo Lavelle Smith, 33, of Columbus; and German Alfredo White, 53, of Jacksonville, Fla.  

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the DEA and Columbus Division of Police, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Hunter and David Bosley, who are prosecuting the case.

Charges contained in a complaint are allegations. All defendants should be presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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