Muskingum County Prime for Drug Cartel

by Ashley Zilka on April 15, 2011 at 11:17 am

As alleged ringleader, Hugo Ayala, of a large marijuana growing operation pleads guilty yesterday, Sheriff Matt Lutz reacts to the magnitude of the case.

Sheriff Lutz says cases like this one involve numerous departments creating a lot of work, so it’s gratifying to see justice being served.  He also adds that locations, like Ohio, attract people who are involved in growing operations.

"Obviously, Muskingum County, we have 680 square miles in this county. A lot of that is rural, wooded area, we have a lot of AEP ground, a lot of farming ground that is surrounded by woods that farmers don’t necessary go into all of the time, so I think the opportunity was there," said Sheriff Lutz.

Sheriff Lutz says growing operations can be anywhere, especially since people know they are taking a lot of risks by transporting marijuana across the country.

"They bring these people in and try to blend into the communities stay out of sight, out of mind, type of thing. They go to remote parts of the woods where there is not a lot of traffic,  and they are taking their chances that way versus transporting it in, so it’s probably another method of operation that they are trying," said Sheriff Lutz. 

He says for these types of cases, they rely on the community to be their eyes and ears.  If you notice anything suspicious, you can call the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 452-3637.