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Area drug arrests stretch to California

A Hernando County narcotics investigation that peaked last week with the arrest of a Spring Hill family has yielded some unexpected rewards for California authorities.

Two days after the arrests of three members of the Boschen family and one of their alleged buyers, five people in Ventura, Calif., were arrested on various drug and weapons charges, according to a news release.

Ventura vice detectives for three months had investigated the activities of Edward Barone, 38, who was thought to be manufacturing and selling methamphetamine, a stimulant known on the street as "crank."

Before investigators could shut down Barone's California lab, he moved. That stymied detectives in that state for a while.

But Barone apparently has had a long-running relationship with Raymond Fred Boschen, who along with his wife and daughter was charged last Tuesday in Hernando County with operating an elaborate marijuana-trafficking scheme.

"They go back quite a ways," said Capt. Rich Nugent of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

During the two months leading up to the Boschens' arrests, Hernando investigators eavesdropped on calls made to and from their home. Barone and Boschen have been acquaintances since before they left their native New Jersey.

For many years, both apparently have been involved in lucrative narcotics operations, authorities say. Boschen told Hernando detectives that he has been trafficking drugs for 25 years and made as much as $400,000 a year.

Federal charges by the Internal Revenue Service may be lodged against Boschen later this week, authorities say.

When Barone recently called Boschen, they talked about automatic weapons, Nugent said. In code, they allegedly discussed their drug operations. Barone at some point told his old friend where he now lived.

Before the Boschens were arrested, Barone sent an ounce of crank to their Spring Hill home, Nugent said. Investigators seized the crank and 150 pounds of marijuana, several weapons and vehicles and thousands of dollars when they raided the Boschen home last week.

Last Thursday, Ventura police detectives saw Barone leaving his home on Modoc Street, Nugent said. He had a large amount of money with him, leading authorities to believe he might be bound for a drug buy.

But police say Barone actually meant to wire the money to Florida so Boschen could post $80,000 bail. Police arrested Barone before he could make that transaction. Then they raided his house and arrested four other people.

California police seized 3 ounces of methamphetamine, $76,000, a 1992 Harley Davidson motorcycle, a 1983 Jaguar, and numerous handguns, shotguns and rifles.

The investigations in Hernando County and California are ongoing, with more arrests expected. The Boschens remain in the Hernando County Jail.

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