Federal agencies raided a Downtown jewelry shop Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, bagging and boxing large amounts of evidence inside. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration spent the afternoon at Tri-State Jewelers on Race Street. WCPO-TV
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Court docs detail accusations against 2 Hamilton men in alleged drug, money laundering operation

Three local men were among 37 charged with crimes related to narcotics and money laundering conspiracies that resulted in the seizure of 19 pounds of fentanyl, 100 pounds of cocaine, 42 pounds of methamphetamine, 47 weapons and more, officials said.

Law enforcement agents arrested the defendants late last week and over the weekend, according to an indictment that was unsealed Tuesday in Cincinnati.

The federal indictment alleges two Cincinnati businesses — Tri-State Jewelers on Race Street and Nationwide Automotive on Vine Street — were used to launder proceeds from the narcotics conspiracy.

The three local defendants are Daniel Simmons, 45, and Maurice Jackson, 50, both of Hamilton; and Yosi Ilouz, 42, of Mason. Others charged live in Cincinnati, Wisconsin, California, Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Mexico.

According to the 18-page indictment, Simmons possessed with the intent to distribute a mixture and substance containing “a detectable amount” of cocaine and possessed a 9mm semi-automatic handgun and ammunition.

The indictment also reported that Jackson possessed at least 500 grams of cocaine that was planned to be distributed.

Ilouz, acting in his management role at Tri-State, accepted $1,400 in U.S. currency for the purchase of a diamond pendant necklace, and he earlier agreed to store at least $2.5 million at the jeweler, according to the indictment. The cash was then allegedly concealed and packaged to be transported to and from the Cincinnati region.

In 2005, Simmons was charged with aggravated drug trafficking and was sentenced to five years community control, according to Butler County court records.

Jackson was sentenced to five years community control after he was charged with trafficking in drugs in 1998, according to court documents.

According to the indictment, beginning in March 2016 and continuing through October of this year, the defendants conspired to possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl, 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and five kilograms or more of cocaine, according to the release.

Also in July 2019, Nationwide Automotive accepted $38,800 in alleged narcotics proceeds for the purchase of a vehicle. It is alleged at least $800,000 was laundered at Nationwide Automotive between November 2018 and April 2019.

The suspects are also charged with maintaining drug premises on Prosser and Glenmore avenues in Cincinnati.

The government seized more than $500,000 in cash, 19 pounds of fentanyl, three pounds of heroin, 100 pounds of cocaine, 42 pounds of methamphetamine, 47 weapons, 12 vehicles, the jewelry store inventory, assorted jewelry belonging to defendants and residences valued at approximately $1.1 million total thus far in this case, officials said.

The alleged narcotics conspiracy is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life in prison. The money laundering conspiracy is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), United States Marshals Service, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) assisted in arrests.

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