Chandlersville farmer accused of trafficking drugs supplied by cartel for decades arrested


By Christine Holmes, News Director

A farmer in Muskingum County who has been suspected of trafficking drugs supplied by a Mexican cartel for nearly 40 years is now in jail after law enforcement seized more than half-a-million dollars from his properties, as well as $700,000 worth of cocaine.

Dwight Taylor, a 66-year-old man from Chandlersville, was arrested Monday morning at his home on Green Valley Road following a year-long investigation involving the Muskingum County/Zanesville City Joint Drug Unit and Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force.

“His nickname was ‘Farmer,'” said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. “That’s what he did in his spare time from selling drugs, he was farming.”

According to Zanesville Police Chief Tony Coury, Taylor was a “kingpin” in his alleged drug operation.

“The sheriff and I have plenty of connections, but neither one of us have the ability to order up one kilo of cocaine, but Dwight Taylor can,” said Coury.

Coury said the cocaine was a product imported to Taylor directly from Mexico.

“That’s the problem that we have,” said Lutz. “With our borders not being secured, we’re dealing with keys of cocaine.”

According to Lutz, the Department of Homeland Security also became involved in the case.

“This is a big investigation for us and our community and southeast Ohio,” said Coury. “He’s way up there in the drug business.”

Because of his position in the drug trade, it was difficult for law enforcement to accumulate evidence of Taylor’s involvement.

“I’m telling you, these types of cases don’t happen very often. They just don’t. The reason being is, there’s, you know, there’s a select few of people that are this big that are doing this,” said Lutz. “These investigations are probably some of the most difficult investigations there are in law enforcement, and they’re not easy to do. We just have a group right now that works so good together that just give incredible effort, and that’s what this case was about.”

Part of the investigation also included the help of Homeland Security.

Taylor has been charged with the following felonies:

  • One count of trafficking in drugs (cocaine) with a major drug offender specification, a felony of the first-degree
  • One count of possession of drugs (cocaine) with a major drug offender specification, a felony of the first-degree
  • Six counts of trafficking in drugs (cocaine), a felony of the first-degree
  • Eight Counts of permitting drug abuse, a felony of the fifth-degree
  • One count of trafficking in drugs (cocaine), a felony of the fifth-degree

With the major drug offender specifications, Taylor will minimally serve a maximum sentence of 11 years if convicted. Should he be found guilty on all counts and the judge run the associated time consecutively, Taylor could be sentenced to a maximum of 88 years in prison.

Throughout the week, search warrants were executed at a number of Taylor’s properties, yielding 3,500 grams, or seven pounds, of cocaine, $670,000 and approximately 488 acres from 26 different properties.

Those properties, according to a pair of criminal complaints filed in Muskingum County court, include:

  • 4975 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville
  • Two parcels at 5230 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville
  • 5005 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville
  • 5181 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville
  • 5255 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville
  • 5345 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville
  • 5030 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville
  • 5080 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville
  • 9065 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville
  • 2735 Wilhelm Rd., Chandlersville
  • 2780 Brewster Grove, Chandlersville
  • 4265 Salt Creek Dr., Chandlersville
  • 2435 Three Towers Rd., Chandlersville
  • Two parcels at 4050 Big Muskie Dr., Chandlersville
  • A parcel on Wilhelm Road, Chandlersville
  • Two parcels on Chandlersville Road, Chandlersville
  • A parcel on Main Street, Chandlersville
  • 5360 Mast Head Rd., Duncan Falls
  • A parcel on Mast Head Rd., Duncan Falls
  • 12665 Green Valley Rd., New Concord
  • A parcel on Shepherd Road, New Concord

Additionally, the following were seized:

  • 13 firearms
  • 7,582 bushels of corn
  • Two bulldozers
  • One trackhoe
  • One backhoe
  • One skid steer
  • 19 tractors and 12 attachable pieces of farm equipment
  • One 2003 Peterbilt semi-truck
  • Seven vehicles
  • One four-wheeler
  • One side-by-side
  • 32 head of cattle

The items were found at the following locations:

  • 12665 Green Valley Rd., New Concord — Taylor’s residence
  • 2735 Wilhelm Rd., Chandlersville — Farmland with a vacant house and barn
  • 4265 Salt Creek Dr., Chandlersville — Farmland
  • 5230 Chandlersville Rd., Chandlersville — Vacant house with acreage
  • 4050 Big Muskie Dr., Chandlersville — Previously a feed mill

“If we could get it started, we took it,” said Lutz, since the items were likely funded by proceeds from drug sales.

If Taylor is convicted of his charges and the seized property is forfeited, Lutz said he expects the items to be split between the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office, Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office and Zanesville Police Department.

After four decades of drug trafficking, Lutz said he agrees with public commentary he has seen saying it was about time for Taylor to be arrested.

“It took us way too long to get him, but this is an incredible case that was put together by our people over that last six months to a year,” said Lutz. “He’s been doing these things for a while.”

For the officers who worked investigations involving Taylor dating back to the 80s, including Lutz when he was a drug detective, the arrest was gratifying.

“None of us like to lose when it comes to these types of things,” said Lutz. “We know what this stuff does to our community.”

Coury noted that the cocaine seized was pure and untouched by any dealers who could then cut the drugs to multiply the product.

“I can tell you that 3,500 grams is a large, large, large quantity to have,” said Lutz.

Throughout his alleged career of drug trafficking, Coury said Taylor likely reached thousands of individuals through cocaine sales and caused addicts to overdose and die on his drugs.

“Some people have shown their sympathy for Dwight Taylor, you know, because he’s 66 years of age and that he’s an old man,” said Coury. “But this old man has corrupted our communities for, what the sheriff said, four decades. Don’t feel sorry for Dwight Taylor.”

Coury added that Taylor never felt sorry for parents who had to bury their children who overdosed.

“This is a case where there’s been a lot of cocaine put on the street, and there is nobody that needs to be feeling sorry for a drug dealer to be taken off the street,” said Lutz.

Even though Taylor is now in jail, Lutz said the investigation continues.

“We’re not done yet,” said Lutz. “We want to get anybody that we can get that’s connected to this investigation.”

In addition to the Zanesville Police Department and Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office, the agencies that assisted in serving warrants included:

  • Perry County Sheriff’s Office
  • Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office
  • Licking County Sheriff’s Office
  • Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force
  • Homeland Security Investigations

A number of local businesses also helped remove some of the items seized from Taylor’s property.

“I don’t think we could give enough praise, the sheriff and I, to the men and women of our agencies that went out and worked this case,” said Coury.