–by Mike Jones
PUBLICATION DATE: Nov 19, 2019
Sylvania Township recently took part in what was described as a multi-agency, multi-year investigation that has resulted in indictments against 31 people for a number of narcotics conspiracy violations.
Police Chief Paul Long said the township police have had an officer assigned to the FBI-led drug task force for years. The group’s efforts have led to many other prosecutions, and he added that it is rewarding to see now and then front-page attention paid to their efforts.
Due to the confidential nature of the work and that it is ongoing, the Chief said it was decided the officer shouldn’t speak publicly. Chief Long added that it’s important for people to know that while cases of this sort appear exciting when indictments are announced, they are the result of months of investigation. He added, “The police know who they are looking for. They know who the bad guys are, but you have to build a case. You have to be able to prove it.” This can take a long time, particularly in building a case which has resulted in 31 people indicted.
Long noted the activities of suspects can intersect with some defendants at times and with others at other times. It takes time to sort out suspects in a criminal enterprise of this size and scope. Although most of the defendants are from Toledo, others are from Arizona and Mexico.
Chief Long acknowledged that none of those arrested are from Sylvania Township, but added that the victims of narcotics trafficking, the users, those who become addicted, those who overdose are in our community and everywhere in northwest Ohio.
Without being specific, the chief also noted that drug deals often take place in large commercial parking lots and pointed out Sylvania Township has a number of them.
Although trying for specific measurements can be difficult, Long said that sharing of information between other members of the Sylvania Township police, the task-force member and the township’s member of the DEA task force has enhanced township law enforcement.
He also noted that the FBI has paid for extensive training for the township officer in the ability to use cell phone towers to track suspects who are carrying a phone.
“He’s had all the training that’s available to non-federal agents,” the chief said, noting that the township recently used the officer’s skills to track a suspected burglar, arrest him, and charge him with a number of offenses committed in the township.
All of the alleged members of the drug ring are charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Many face additional charges such as illegal possession of firearms and interstate travel in the conspiracy. As arrests took place, police seized a total of about $400,000 in quantities of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl and a number of firearms. U.S. District Court Judge James Carr has set a pretrial conference for Dec. 12.
Care facility zoning request
The dates for hearings on a request for a conditional use permit for a proposed residential care facility at 4828 Whiteford Rd. have been changed. Developers of the project had earlier asked for a continuance to submit revised plans for a hearing by the Lucas County Planning Commission at its meeting on Nov. 20.
Daryl Graus, manager of the Sylvania Township office of planning and zoning, said the revised plans have not yet been submitted to the county so the issue will not be on the commission’s November agenda. The earliest the issue can now come before the commission will be at the meeting set for Dec. 18.
If it is heard then the matter will next go to the Sylvania Township Board of Zoning Appeals for its meeting Jan. 9. The issue was first expected to be heard by the BZA at the August meeting. The Lucas County Planning Commission meeting will be at 9 am on the first floor of Government Center in downtown Toledo. The township board of zoning appeals, which will have the final decision on the matter, will meet at 5 pm in the Sylvania Township administration building 4927 Holland-Sylvania Rd.
A hearing by Lucas County Commissioners on a petition by the city of Sylvania to annex roughly 30 properties within Sylvania Township’s Country Walk plat 6 as been rescheduled for Nov. 19 at 2 pm in the commissioners’ hearing room, One Government Center.
The hearing had originally been set for Oct. 29, but the city of Sylvania had failed to issue a proper notice of the public hearing, which necessitated the rescheduling, according to John Borell, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor and attorney for Sylvania Township.
Let it snow
A few hours before Sylvania Township got its first snow event of the season, Rob Nash, township road superintendent, began a chess match with Mother Nature. He was relying on weather forecasts and tracking radar to help decide when it would be necessary to stop leaf collection efforts and turn to snow and ice control.
“Safety first. We ask for residents’ patience in getting to the leaves, but we need to first make sure the streets are as safe to travel as possible,” he said.
Some crews continued on leaf collection through the day, but four trucks were refitted to snow and ice control about 2 p.m. Crews continued on that task overnight and were back at it the next morning.
He said normal leaf-collection efforts will resume as soon as possible. In below-freezing temperatures some of the collection equipment can freeze, Nash said. It has to be taken out of service and brought into the garage to thaw. He cautioned that the weather also has the obvious negative effect of freezing piles of leaves. Although the job becomes somewhat easier after a freeze, crews still have to wrestle with the resulting sodden mess.