Two men are facing a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to a $10 million fine after they were caught with more than 80 pounds of drugs on Tuesday, according to a criminal complaint.
Michael Nailen, 53, and Marco Gonzalez, 47, are accused of possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Both are being held by the United States Marshals Service at the Butler County Jail, according to the jail roster.
Field tests indicated the drugs were cocaine, but lab tests still being concluded show a mix of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, according to Josh Walters, director of the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force. Walters said the total seized now amounts to nearly 90 pounds of drugs.
Police allegedly found 38 kilograms of drugs in Nailen’s truck during a Dec. 11 traffic stop, and an additional seven kilograms of cocaine in Gonzalez’s car, according to a criminal complaint. Gonzalez also allegedly admitted to distributing 10 to 20 kilograms of drugs in Dayton, according to the complaint.
According to the complaint, Gonzalez said he and Nailen had been making similar deliveries across Ohio and in New Jersey for two years.
Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force agents first observed Gonzalez behave suspiciously during a surveillance operation in Dayton on Dec. 11, according to the complaint. An Ohio State trooper followed Gonzalez and stopped him on a traffic violation, but didn’t locate any illegal substances in his vehicle.
The trooper allegedly noticed discrepancies in Gonzalez’s reason for being in Dayton and his travel itinerary. Agents followed Gonzalez to a Kroger in Gahanna, Ohio, according to the complaint. There, Gonzalez allegedly met Nailen and made some sort of exchange.
Police followed Nailen and stopped him on Interstate 70 near Hebron, east of Columbus. There, a drug dog gave a positive alert on Nailen’s truck, the complaint alleges. Police allegedly discovered 38 kilograms of a substance in his vehicle that field-tested positive for cocaine.
Gonzalez was stopped by police on Interstate 71 heading toward Cleveland. Gonzalez allegedly admitted he had received a box from Nailen at the Kroger in Gahanna, and he was heading to Cleveland to drop it off. When the box was opened, it contained seven kilograms of what Gonzales allegedly thought was cocaine, according to the complaint.
Gonzalez allegedly admitted he had dropped off two similar boxes of what was found in his trunk in Dayton. According to the complaint, Gonzalez thought the boxes contained between 10 and 20 kilograms of cocaine.
Nailen and Gonzalez appeared in federal court in Dayton on Thursday, where their pretrial and detention hearings were set for Dec. 18.
(NOTE: This article was updated to reflect additional quantities and types of drugs that investigators from the Miami Valley Bulk Smuggling Task Force seized in the case.)
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.