Operation Big Oak is a go in Columbiana County, Ohio. Big Oak (an acronym meaning Breaking Into Gangs - Opiate Addiction Knockdown) is a success so far. At the moment, over one hundred are caught in the dragnet of 756 count drug trafficking indictments. Big Oak charges span from Ohio all the way into West Virginia, including Columbiana and Hancock counties and as far north as Cuyahoga County.
Suspects are facing a literal laundry list of serious charges: engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, participating in a criminal gang, aggravated trafficking in drugs (fentanyl, carfentanil, or oxycodone), aggravated trafficking in heroin, trafficking in heroin, trafficking in heroin in the vicinity of a school, aggravated trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in cocaine, attempted trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in the vicinity of a juvenile, trafficking in marijuana, assault, corrupting another with drugs, having weapons under disability, permitting drug abuse, tampering with evidence, possession of cocaine, aggravated possession of drugs.
The operation has been running for some time, but the first arrests of suspects began Monday morning. Wiretapping, controlled and informant buys were the primary methods applied during the sting. Suspects thus far have been charged with trafficking fentanyl, carfentanil, heroin and cocaine. Fentanyl is considered one of the most dangerous members of the opiate/opioid family in our current opiate crisis, dwarfing heroin with its addictive and lethal nature. Carfentanil is a research chemical that makes fentanyl look safe by comparison.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We are fighting the crisis, saving lives, and making our state a better place for Ohio families. <a href="https://t.co/p8sb5awOD3">https://t.co/p8sb5awOD3</a></p>— Mike DeWine (@MikeDeWine) <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeDeWine/status/928288677289234434?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 8, 2017</a></blockquote>
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4 of the alleged ring-leaders were nabbed in Cuyahoga County. According to DeWine the ring-leaders in shackles currently are "not small fish."
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine pointed out four alleged ring-leaders from Cuyahoga County. The "Down the Way" street gang have been implicated as some of the major pushers of opiates and opioids in the area. DeWine explains the ludicrous amount of toxic opioids recovered.
“They brought the equivalent of 1.4 million potentially fatal doses of these two deadly drugs to Columbiana County since 2014,” DeWine said. In other words, enough to kill every last person in DeWine county as well as the entire population of 11 other nearby counties.
DeWine's hope is that many low-level offenders who are only guilty of buying will receive treatment but the plan is to throw the book at the traffickers themselves in order to send a message.