LORAIN — It all started with a phone call.
Francisco Rivera of Lorain was stopped in Tennessee for a traffic violation in January, and he was found to have $183,000 in cash on him. That was enough to garner suspicion, but there was nothing there for an arrest, so the Tennessee police made a phone call — telling Lorain police about the stop.
That started the investigation that led to the arrest Tuesday of three Lorain men who police say are responsible for the majority of heroin trafficking in Lorain County.
The men, Jose Romero, Luis Acevedo Jr. and Kevin Thorpe, were arrested as part of a massive drug raid put into motion by the Lorain Police Department Narcotics/Special Investigations Unit, Lorain Police SWAT Team, Lorain County Drug Task Force and the Cleveland Drug Enforcement Agency.
The raids were conducted at two South Lorain homes and turned up 40 firearms, including machine pistols and assault rifles, 20 grams of cocaine, 591 grams of marijuana and $5,200 in cash. Officers also found 75 grams of heroin, which Lorain police Sgt. Tom Nimon said is a substantial amount.
A gram of heroin costs between $150 and $180, and a normal dosage is about .01 grams.
All of the items were confiscated by police, and Romero, Acevedo and Thorpe were charged with multiple drug-related felony charges.
Nimon said police believed Rivera may have been traveling south in January to purchase drugs when he was stopped in Tennessee.
Romero also was stopped in Tennessee approximately three weeks later and was found with $210,000, police said.
Nimon said police believe Romero was Rivera’s drug supplier.
On Tuesday, Romero was charged with trafficking in heroin, possession of cocaine, weapons under disability, possession of criminal tools, drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.
Acevedo was charged with possession of cocaine, marijuana, criminal tools, trafficking in heroin and possession of heroin.
Thorpe was charged with trafficking in heroin and possession of criminal tools.
More charges may be filed later, according to Lorain police Detective Chris Colon.
The men were arraigned Wednesday at Lorain Municipal Court, where they entered not guilty pleas. Pre-trial hearings are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.
All of the men have been arrested on drug-related charges in the past, according to court documents, and Rivera was free on bond when he was arrested in the raid.
Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or firstname.lastname@example.org.