A Henry County grand jury recently indicted a Deshler man on a charge of trafficking in persons and four individuals on drug charges in separate incidents.
Kevin Hatcher, 56, of Deshler was indicted on one count of trafficking in persons — involuntary servitude, a first-degree felony.
According to the indictment, authorities allege, from Nov. 1-Jan. 25, Hatcher lured another person, knowing they would be subjected to involuntary servitude.
Henry County Prosecutor Gwen Howe-Gebers said the charges are not what is considered to be stranger human trafficking, but it has similar characteristics.
“The main difference is they had met each other,” Howe-Gebers said. “It’s a little different, but it still has the same characteristics of a human trafficking.”
Howe-Gebers said the Henry County Sheriff’s Office originally responded to a domestic call involving Hatcher and his father, and that’s what started law enforcement’s involvement in the case. She said Hatcher was the only individual allegedly involved and the victim is now in a safe house.
According to the court schedule, an appearance date for Hatcher was not scheduled as of Wednesday afternoon.
Also indicted by the grand jury were Derek Goeckerman, 33, of Holland, Dustin Hall, 38, of Maumee, Khalid Nasirdeen, 51, of Toledo, and Michael Schrickel, 48, of Maumee. They were each indicted on one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony. The charges allege, from May 2017 through December 2020, the four were part of a larger enterprise that was involved in at least two more incidents of corrupt activity. Within that pattern of corrupt activity includes four counts of trafficking in marijuana, all second-degree felonies; one count of trafficking in drugs, a second-degree felony; two counts of trafficking in marijuana, both third-degree felonies; two counts of possession of marijuana, both third-degree felonies; and one count of theft, a fourth-degree felony.
Howe-Gebers said the charges are related to a drug organization that transported large amounts of marijuana through Henry County and the charges are part of an ongoing investigation stemming from a Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) task force, which brought in local authorities.
“It went from Henry and Lucas (counties), there were people in Indiana, California, trafficking pounds of marijuana,” she explained, adding U.S. Route 24 was frequently utilized as a transportation route. “There was one that was a stop in the county, but mainly they used our county to transport.”
Howe-Gebers said there are at least eight additional individuals involved, most of whom have been charged but have not been arrested yet.
According to the indictment, the charges arose from numerous incidents, including a traffic stop May 1 on Rte. 24 west of Napoleon where four large trash bags were searched and Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers found individually compressed packages of marijuana weighing approximately 100 pounds. In addition, in November, $49,800 in U.S. currency was seized at the Detroit Airport in related to the organization.
Goeckerman and Nasirdeen each appeared for a bond hearing, and bond was set at $100,000 each, with 10% permitted. Arraignments are set for April 28.
Hall and Schrickel each appeared for arraignments and pleaded not guilty to the charges. Pretrials were scheduled for April 21. Bond was also set at $100,000 each, with 10% permitted.
Bond was posted for all four of the individuals. The court ordered, if bond was posted, the individuals are not to have contact with other co-defendants or cooperating witnesses in the case.