Local couple ‘in deep with the cartel’ faces fentanyl trafficking charges

A Harrison Twp. couple will be detained without bond while a charge of trafficking a massive amount of fentanyl is resolved in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

When he was apprehended Nov. 28, Thomas Mead allegedly told law enforcement: “There’s 20 kilos in the basement, and we are in deep with the cartel.”

Thomas Mead, 44, and his wife, 34-year-old Renae Mead, both face a charge of possession with intent to distribute 400 or more grams of fentanyl. Both were ordered on Dec. 4 by a magistrate judge to remain in jail while their case proceeds.

The maximum penalties for a person convicted of that charge are 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine, according to the court docket.

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Renae Mead waived her right to a preliminary hearing on Thursday and will have her case turned over to a grand jury.

A United States marshal said Thomas Mead was wanted on a felony probation violation from a 1993 case and was believed to be at a home on Gipsy Avenue in Harrison Twp, according to a complaint and affidavit written by a task force officer with Homeland Security Investigations.

The marshal said people turned off lights and tried to hide when law enforcement knocked at the door. Officers later gained entry and served arrest warrants to both defendants.

During a protective sweep, task force officer Josh Walters wrote, agents “observed in plain view several kilograms of suspected narcotics in the basement.”

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That’s when Thomas Mead made the spontaneous remarks about 20 kilos in the basement and being in deep with a cartel, or words to that effect, according to the affidavit.

A search warrant for 2112 Gipsy Avenue was signed by a local judge and agents found “multiple kilograms” of fentanyl, cash, a narcotics ledger and press used to package large quantities of drugs.

Thomas Mead told a special agent he started selling drugs in February 2018 after being released from prison and that there were 30 to 40 kilograms of drugs in the residence, Walters wrote.

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Renae Mead — who bought the house for $31,000 in September 2018 according to Montgomery County property records — told the same special agent that there were at least 16 grams of fentanyl in the basement and that she had been present during several drug deals.

A magistrate judge granted a motion from defense attorney Richard Mayhall for Thomas Mead to undergo a mental evaluation.

“The defendant appeared to have trouble processing information, spoke very slowly, and frequently became confused,” Mayhall wrote, adding that his client is being treated for throat cancer and that pain medications “may be having an impact on his mental status.”

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Staff writer Bennett Leckrone contributed to this article.

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