Warren County Drug Task Force officials say they have arrested six of the seven adults connected with the$3 million marijuana drug ring that involved a Mason High School student.
Task force Commander John Burke said Michael Lopez, 28, of Cincinnati is not yet in custody Tuesday evening but they know how to find him and he is expected to turn himself in soon. Warren County Jail records show Justin Baker, 32, and William Sparks, 53 both of Hamilton; Gerald Peele, 20 of Mason; Stacy Lampe, 28, Cody Lampe, 31 and Allen Honeycutt, 58, all of Cincinnati are in custody. The 17-year-old Mason student who will be arraigned in juvenile court July 31, is not being detained.
Prosecutor David Fornshell said the teen and his attorney have been cooperating with authorities for about six months and there was no fear he might skip town so he wasn’t immediately arrested.
“The issue with arrest is when you have a threat of imminent danger, or a concern a particular individual may flee the jurisdiction, so you want to make sure you get them arrested and get a bond in place, to make sure they actually show up,” he said. “In this particular instance the juvenile, through his counsel, they have been very cooperative with respect to this process and maintaining regular contact with us.”
The adults have been charged with multiple felony-level drug offenses following a year-long investigation. Raids were made on three marijuana-growing facilities, in Hamilton, Blue Ash and Norwood, and 600 plants valued at more than $3 million were seized.
Officials said they believe the teen had six current and former students from Mason High School working for him for the last couple of years, making drug deals with users who were mostly Mason and Kings students. Both schools are in southern Warren County. Authorities said the teen was running a $20,000-a-month operation, but didn’t bring his business on the Mason school campus.
Fornshell said he has not calculated how much time in prison the adults face if they are found guilty, but everyone but Peele faces a first degree felony charge for engaging in corrupt activity, which carries a maximum sentence of 11 years. Cody Lampe has the most charges lodged against him with 10. He has two other first-degree felony charges of cultivation of marijuana and trafficking in marijuana. Peele faces the least amount of charges with three, including a second-degree felony engaging in corrupt activity charge.
As of late Tuesday, only Baker and Stacy Lampe had court dates scheduled for Wednesday.