- Mark Gokavi Staff Writer
Thomas Betz and Michael Dorley pleaded not guilty Tuesday to marijuana growing-related charges and their bonds were set at $100,000 cash/surety.
Betz, 38 — the son of recently retired crime lab director Ken Betz — and Dorley, 40, both face charges of cultivation, possession and trafficking of more than 20,000 grams (44 pounds) of marijuana and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, according to an indictment.
Betz also faces one count of money laundering in the indictment that covers activity from January 2012 until May 15, 2017.
Betz’s attorney, James Ambrose, questioned special prosecutor Jon Marshall’s request for a $500,000 cash bond.
“Frankly, I thought this was a drug cultivation case, nothing to do with piracy or treason,” Ambrose said. “So I’m kind of at a loss why (the bond request is) so much.”
Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Dennis Langer also said Betz and Dorley would be subject to electronic monitoring. Betz appeared via video while Dorley surrendered to law enforcement and was taken into custody to be booked into jail.
Both have a scheduling conference on Nov. 21 in front of Judge Erik Blaine.
The indictment also calls 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.
In May, search warrants were served by the Tactical Crime Suppression Unit 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.
Photos from the raids obtained by this news organization showed what appeared to be a marijuana growing operation.
Melanie Betz, Thomas’ wife, had her picture released by the task force in May in conjunction with the raids. She was not included in this indictment.
The pattern of corrupt activity is a first-degree felony while the marijuana counts all are second-degree felonies and the money laundering count is a felony of the third degree.
Thomas 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.
Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Greg Flannagan said a special prosecutor was appointed to avoid a potential appearance of conflict of interest.