Two Ohio officers are facing charges with heavy penalties after being accused of attempting to distribute several kilos of fentanyl and cocaine.
33-year-old John Kotchkoski and 44-year-old Marco Merino were both narcotics officers in Columbus, Ohio.
The federal authorities suspected that the pair were working together to make money off of large drug sales, and they decided to open an investigation.
According to the Department of Justice, in a period between March and September, Merino and Kotchkoski teamed up to distribute what was believed to be 27 kilos of cocaine.
Merino was reportedly given approximately $40,000 for helping to ensure the safe transportation of the drugs, and Kotchkoski was also allegedly involved in many aspects of ensuring safe transportation.
According to the authorities, Merino allegedly attempted to recruit a confidential informant to assist with the trafficking.
In August, Kotchkoski reportedly procured 7.5 kilograms of fentanyl. He allegedly gave the drugs to Merino so he could distribute them.
When looking into the location of the profits the pair allegedly made off the drug sales, the authorities believe that Merino was trying to establish citizenship in Mexico. They assert that he was trying to secure a place to launder the money he made in the alleged drug transactions. It was reported that Merino was going to purchase real estate and rent out the residences on Airbnb.
On September 28, Merino and Kotchkoski were arrested for the allegations.
The Columbus police chief gave a statement letting the public know that the department plans to work with the federal authorities in investigating the claims. Both of the defendants were relieved from duty.
If they are found guilty of the charges, Merino and Kotchkoski could face maximum penalties of life in prison.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a drug offense, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.