The marijuana legalization advocacy group ResponsibleOhio has been reportedly threatened, stalked, and victimized by thefts and cyber attacks at the hands of a local drug cartel.
According to Fox 19, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Secret Service have investigated the threats and are taking them seriously. One suspect, who allegedly stole $200,000 from the organization’s bank account before being caught by law enforcement attempting to steal an additional $300,000, is in custody.
ResponsibleOhio executive director Ian James said, “Law enforcement was pretty clear that this was a pretty heavy duty drug dealer. The fact that he was also an arms dealer gave them great pause and indicated that we should be concerned.” Officers reportedly found a photograph of Ian James’ husband standing outside a building in Cleveland on the suspect.
In the above-embedded WCPO video, sports agent and ResponsibleOhio co-founder James Gould describes chilling recorded death threats that he allegedly received via “burner” cell phones from members of a drug cartel.
“Why are you doing this? We’re going to f*** you up,” said the recorded voice on three different occasions over three weeks, according to Gould. He says that the group was also targeted by a cyber attack at a crucial point in its signature gathering process.
WCPO notes that according to campaign finance records, ResponsibleOhio subsequently spent $165,368 hiring the private security firm Carrol & Associates LLC to provide protection and investigate the threats.
“It was scary,” said Gould.
ResponsibleOhio’s marijuana legalization ballot measure Issue 3 will appear on Ohio’s general election ballot on November 3. The measure would create a framework for a legal recreational and medical marijuana industry in the state. Critics say the measure would establish a marijuana cultivation oligopoly, as it would constitutionally restrict pot production to 10 farms owned by ResponsibleOhio investors.