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Prescription Drug Conspiracy Dismantled in Northern Kentucky

“Operation Family Vacation” takes a trip in handcuffs

FEB 22 (CINCINNATI) – Today, Robert L. Corso, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Field Division, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), along with Kerry B. Harvey, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, and Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, jointly announced the culmination of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, termed Operation Family Vacation, that resulted in the arrest of 24 suspects for charges primarily related to the illegal distribution of prescription drugs.  Specifically, the defendants are charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone in Kenton and Campbell Counties in Northern Kentucky as well as locations in the Cincinnati area.

During the past two years the DEA Cincinnati Resident Office (CRO), the Northern Kentucky Strike Force, the Internal Revenue Service, along with Task Force Officers from 13 law enforcement agencies from Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky, have been investigating and targeting this oxycodone organization. 

According to the indictment, this organization made approximately $1,825,510 through the distribution of oxycodone.  The investigation identified 11 rental properties owned by conspiracy members.  The U.S. seeks the forfeiture of these rental properties and numerous vehicles that were either purchased with drug proceeds or used to facilitate the conspiracy.

Arrests began on the morning of February 21, 2013, as agents and officers executed seven federal search warrants at various properties in Northern Kentucky and Southern Ohio. So far, 24 individuals are in custody, and agents and officers have seized numerous pharmaceutical drugs, 27 firearms, and more than $93,000 in currency. 

Those arrested are identified as follows:
Damon Helton, Michael Wright, Deborah Helton, Jay Young, Holly Helton, Christopher Edwards, Matthew White, Rich Redden, Anthony Filice, Daryl Isbel, Arthur Penrod, John Helton, Raymond Helton, John Sipe, Tabatha Bales, Robert Taylor, Christy Brooks, Thomas Helton, Jessica Helton, Sandra Cadle, William Ream, and Tamara Terry

This joint investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration Cincinnati Resident Office in conjunction with agents and police officers from the Northern Kentucky Strike Force, Norwood Police Department, Boone County Sheriff's Office, Colerain Police Department, Butler County Sheriff's Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Police Department, Cincinnati Airport Police, Kentucky State Police, Florence Police Department, West Chester Police Department, Covington Police Department, Kenton County Police Department, Ohio State Patrol, United States Marshals Service, and offices of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky and Southern District of Ohio.

The charges carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison upon conviction.

Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


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