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Son of former crime lab director pleads guilty in large marijuana case

Two local men accused of cultivating and trafficking more than 44 pounds of marijuana have pleaded guilty to some charges in exchange for others being dismissed.

Thomas J. Betz, 38, of Springboro the son of former Miami Valley Crime Lab director Ken Betz, pleaded guilty to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, illegal cultivation of marijuana between 5,000 and 20,000 grams and money laundering.

The first count carries a statutory sentencing range of 3 to 11 years, while the other two have sentencing ranging from 9 to 36 months. Counts of trafficking, possession of criminal tools and were dismissed, according to court records.

RELATED: Betz, Dorley plead not guilty in marijuana growing case

Michael C. Dorley, 41, pleaded guilty to second-degree engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and illegal cultivation of between 5,000 and 20,000 grams of marijuana. In exchange, there two forfeiture specifications were dismissed. Dorley’s corrupt activity charge is punishable by a sentence of 2 to 8 years.

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Visiting Judge Thomas Herman (retired from Clermont County) scheduled sentencing for Aug. 15. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office named a special prosecutor — Jon Marshall of Butler County — to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.

The case stemmed from May 2017 search warrants served by the Tactical Crime Suppression Unit (TCSU) at buildings on Kling Drive and TB Livery Inc. on Valley Street in Dayton plus Woodville Drive in Harrison Twp. and West Waterbury Drive in Springboro.

RELATED: Ex-crime lab director’s son indicted on drug, other charges

Both defendants had been jailed but after the June plea they posted bond. Before that, Betz was allowed to attend his son’s school function and a T-ball game.

As part of the plea deal, Betz agreed to forfeit the Woodville residence, a GMC Yukon Denali and money from bank accounts.

A bill of particulars filed by Marshall shows investigators learned in late 2016 that no one was residing at the Woodville residence, which Betz and his wife Melanie purchased for $75,000 in 2012. Trash pulls, electricity records, thermal imaging scans, GPS tracking on the suspects’ vehicles, bank and tax records and surveillance were used by the TCSU.

In addition to the marijuana, grow lights, accessories, Ziploc bags, rubber gloves and other packaging and distribution tools were seized.

RELATED: Crime lab director’s son, two others named as suspects after drug raids

Earlier in the case, the defendants made a motion to suppress evidence and ask for the identity of a confidential informant who provided background data used to obtain multiple search warrants.

The indictment had called for the forfeiture of four of Betz’s vehicles. Multiple homes, bank accounts and Dorley’s 1966 Ford Mustang are listed in the indictment as criminal instruments used in the commission of crimes.

Betz has had other legal issues, declaring bankruptcy in 2002 when he owed debts to at least three casinos, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

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