June 30, 2016

Mostly sunny

Sheriff: Pounds of pot found, meth lab shut down

Medina County law enforcement officials recently made several drug arrests, two by chance and four others after a two-month investigation.

On Saturday, county sheriff’s deputies stopped a vehicle at Interstate 71 northbound and Interstate 76 eastbound in Westfield Township for several traffic violations. Deputies thought the driver was suspicious and called in a drug-sniffing dog to search the car.

Drug paraphernalia and a box that contained 10½ pounds of suspected marijuana was found in the trunk, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Ronnell L. Elkins, 31, of Dublin, and Antonio Tavares Simmons, 39, of Gahanna, were arrested on felony drug charges.

Simmons recently was released from a federal prison after serving four years on a charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Both were arraigned by video Monday in front of Wadsworth Municipal Court Judge Stephen B. McIlvaine and are scheduled for preliminary hearings Jan. 22.

The Sheriff’s Office and the Medina County Drug Task Force still are investigating.

In a separate case, a county grand jury recently indicted four people in a September methamphetamine lab case out of Wadsworth.

On Sept. 28, Wadsworth police found a meth lab at a house on West Prospect Street in the city. Wadsworth police received a tip and called in Drug Task Force agents to investigate and collect evidence.

“The people had already cleaned up the house, so we did an investigation and ended up finding out these four people were involved,” Drug Task Force Director Gary Hubbard said.

The two-month investigation led to the indictment of Wadsworth residents Gene Wesley Chicoine, 24, of 171 W. Prospect St; Aaron Hansen, 25, of 8462 Wadsworth Road; and Zachariah Malcuit, 23, of 136 Beck St.; and Adam Sanders, 24, of Akron.

The West Prospect Street house is owned by Chicoine’s father.

“(Gene Chicoine) had some friends over and they decided they were going to cook meth in the house, unbeknownst to Dad. He had nothing to do with it,” Hubbard said.

Each was charged with one count of illegal assembly of chemicals, a third-degree felony punishable by up to three years in prison, and illegal manufacturing of drugs — methamphetamine, a second-degree felony, punishable by up to eight years in prison.

Sanders is in the Summit County Jail on unrelated methamphetamine-related charges. Sanders’ family lives in Wadsworth, Hubbard said, and he is related to Hansen.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.