June 26, 2016

Intermittent clouds

20 arrested in Medina-area drug raids

Authorities seized handguns, a shotgun and marijuana plants Wednesday from a home in Lafayette Township. (Kaitlin Bushinski / Gazette)

Authorities seized handguns, a shotgun and marijuana plants today from a home in Lafayette Township. (Kaitlin Bushinski / Gazette)

MEDINA — Medina police, in partnership with the Medina County Drug Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Service, arrested 18 individuals Wednesday on drug-related charges and discovered a marijuana growth operation.

Police Chief Patrick Berarducci called Wednesday’s roundup one of the most successful of its kind in the county’s history. Two of 20 suspects already had been taken into custody prior to the raids, with local and federal law enforcement agencies capturing the 18 others.

“It’s a great collaborative effort between local law enforcement and federal law enforcement officials,” Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.

Dubbed Operation Bear Trap 1, the roundup lasted from 6:30 to 10 a.m., with authorities seizing firearms, two vehicles, OxyContin pills and MDMA (Ecstasy) in the raids, the chief said.

The search for one suspect, Andrew Schmieder, 23, led to the discovery of a marijuana growth operation at his home, 5758 Carsten Road in Lafayette Township, Berarducci said.

After obtaining a search warrant, authorities seized two handguns, one shotgun, around 20 tall marijuana plants and various drug paraphernalia from the house, he said.

Schmieder was apprehended at a Wadsworth car dealership where he is employed, police said.

It is the first raid to come out of the partnership between the U.S. Marshals Service and the Police Department. In March, 16 Medina officers were sworn in as members of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force. Through the program, they can accompany marshals to make arrests in Northeast Ohio.

“This did not cost the Medina taxpayers a single penny,” Berarducci said. Medina officers were reimbursed for overtime spent doing the raids through the deputy marshal’s program.

More than 30 marshals, Drug Task Force agents and officers from various police departments assisted in the operation that extended beyond Medina County. Arrests were made in Cuyahoga County as well, he said.

“The point of all this is that partnerships are what we’re going to do here to be more efficient,” Berarducci said.

The city also is expected to benefit from a partnership formed in April between the Medina County Drug Task Force and the Police Department.

Under the memorandum of understanding, Medina Detective Ed Kinney will work full time with the task force for two years.
In exchange for Kinney’s help, the task force will pay the city $30,000 toward his salary and up to $15,000 in overtime pay. Additionally, any forfeiture funds acquired from drug arrests would be shared between the task force and the department.

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@medina-gazette.com.