From staff reports
STEUBENVILLE - More than $1.5 million was seized last week during a series of raids by local and state law enforcement officials in Steubenville, Wintersville and Bloomingdale.
Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Tuesday the cash was found after authorities served search warrants in the area.
The warrants were served in connection with a gambling investigation conducted by authorities with the Steubenville Police Department and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
James Ciotti, special agent supervisor with the bureau, said last week he couldn't disclose the address where the money was discovered, but said a locksmith was employed to remove the cash from a safe there.
He said piles of cash in various denominations, from $2 bills to $100s, were obtained from the safe. Law enforcement officials originally estimated the cash seized during the raids was approximately $1.2 million.
The search warrants were served at 61 Laurel Hill Drive, 220 S. Fourth St., 4240 Sunset Blvd., 391 Terri Ave., 118 S. Ninth St., and 213 South Fourth St., all in Steubenville. Search warrants were also served at 2320 County Road 25, Bloomingdale and 112 Grandview Drive in Wintersville. The homes and businesses were entered without incident.
Ciotti wouldn't comment on pending arrests in connection with the raid, saying the matter remains under investigation and it could be months before charges are filed.
"Our investigation will continue. I was really surprised by the large amount of cash that was seized during the execution of the search warrants. We are going to continue looking into this issue," McCafferty said.
According to Ciotti, McCafferty approached him several months ago about investigating illegal gambling in the city and asked for assistance from the BCI with the investigation.
McCafferty said the gambling involved betting on sports and playing numbers and it's not been determined whether other criminal activity was involved. McCafferty and Ciotti wouldn't say if owners and residents were present when the raids occurred.