Authorities searching for the 2016 Mercedes Benz seized last Thursday from a Springboro garage during an unsuccessful search for an alleged member of a Middletown-based “drug ring” determined its location using the automaker’s remote security system.
The car was one of 20 sought in the investigation of the ring, which officials have said is tied to three shooting deaths, according to police and a search warrant filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
On Monday, one of the men charged in the case, Marqui Conley, 26, of Middletown, remained on the loose, according to police. He is to be considered armed and dangerous, according to the FBI.
The area of Springboro around the garage where the Mercedes was parked was closed off Thursday while authorities waited outside and urged Conley to give himself up.
The warrant used to search the Mercedes, seized Thursday from the garage at 105 Elkins Lane in Springboro, explained how and why the security system was triggered, setting off the horn of the car.
“The fact that the 2016 Mercedes Benz is within the garage at the target location gives me reason to believe that other assets are within and that evidence of the crime, such as the location of Marqui Conley or perhaps Marqui Conley himself, are also contained within the target location,” investigators wrote in the search warrant.
The horn was honked remotely by Verizon, according to the warrant’s affidavit.
“Sgt. Jamie Wilcox was standing outside the residence of 105 Elkins Lane,” according to affidavit. “Sgt. Jamie Wilcox was able to hear the horn of the Mercedes Benz activate and confirmed the location.”
Inside the car, detectives found a “baggie of white powder” and miscellaneous documents, according to the warrant return filed Friday.
The affidavit also alleged the investigation, which involves Middletown police, the Warren and Butler counties drug task forces, the FBI and ATF, began on Dec. 12, 2018.
“During the months after, several purchases of heroin and/or fentanyl were made from this organization,” according to the affidavit.
The case involves engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, better known as racketeering, as well as trafficking in and possession of drugs.
Conley and Benwan Edwards, 25, of Middletown, are charged in the case in federal court. Edwards was arrested last Monday.
Both Conley and Edwards have lengthy criminal records.
Also last Monday in connection with the case, federal and local law enforcement agencies executed nine search warrants in Middletown, Miamisburg and Dayton.
Middletown Division of Police Maj. Scott Reeve said he was forwarded a Snapchat message apparently written by Conley. In part it read, “Now time to log off snap and get low!! Catch me if you kan!!!!!!”
Police said Conley has ties to Middletown, Hamilton, West Chester Twp., Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo, and expressed confidence he would be arrested.
Staff writers Rick McCrabb and Lauren Pack contributed to this report.
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