Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Circleville Police Chief Harold W. Gray, Pickaway County Sheriff Robert Radcliff, Pickaway County Prosecutor Judy Wolford, and Circleville Mayor Don McIlroy announced that 22 people are facing heroin trafficking charges as a result of ongoing drug investigations by the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), Circleville Police Department, and Pickaway County Sheriff's Office.
An additional 17 suspects are charged with trafficking other drugs such as crack cocaine, prescription pills, or methamphetamine.
The joint-investigations by the three agencies focused primarily on mid-level heroin traffickers in Circleville and Pickaway County, where a majority of the drugs were found to be trafficked in from the Columbus area.
"Two years ago my office started working with local authorities to quash the supply of illegal prescription drugs in Circleville, but unfortunately, heroin dealers saw that as an opportunity to move in and take advantage of those suffering from addiction," said Attorney General DeWine. "Those bringing heroin and other drugs into these communities need to know that we are watching them, and they will go to jail."
"The heroin epidemic is a problem that is affecting our entire community, as nearly all of our burglaries and property crimes are related to the drug trade in some way," said Chief Gray. "We won't sit back and let this happen, which is why we are aggressively taking action with the help of BCI."
"We have battled drugs for years, from methamphetamine to pill mills, and today we battle with heroin," said Sheriff Radcliff. "We are taking a zero tolerance policy on persons who are contaminating our community with heroin, and we intend to work closely with BCI in continued efforts to stop the drug epidemic."
Arrest warrants were issued for the following individuals in connection with these investigations:
1. Sara Anderson, 23, Trafficking in Heroin
2. Caleb Beatty, 28, Trafficking in Heroin
3. Alex Boozer, 28, Trafficking in Crack Cocaine
4. Ashlee Burroughs, 22, Trafficking in Heroin
5. Derek Conboy, 35, Trafficking in Heroin
6. Richard Davis, 31, Trafficking in Heroin (2 cts)
7. Tommy Davis, 29, Trafficking in Heroin (2 cts)
8. Roger Derr, 39, Trafficking in Crack Cocaine
9. Robert Edwards, 23, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs (2 cts)
10. Larry Evans, 26, Trafficking in Crack Cocaine
11. Timothy Fleming, 27, Trafficking in Heroin
12. Jeff Fowler, 28, Trafficking in Heroin
13. Krista Giffin, 21, Trafficking in Heroin (3 cts)
14. David Hanshaw, 23, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
15. Jessica Hanshaw, 28, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
16. Mary Harding, 36, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
17. Ashley Hastings, 26, Trafficking in Heroin
18. Jonathan Ishmael, 21, Trafficking in Heroin
19. George Johnson, 52, Trafficking in Heroin (2 cts)
20. Rena Jones, 53, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
21. Jonathan Logan, 26, Trafficking in Heroin (3 cts)
22. Timothy McFarland, 26, Trafficking in Drugs (Methamphetamine)
23. Elisabeth Nelson, 26, Trafficking in Crack Cocaine
24. Tara Payne, 30, Trafficking in Heroin
25. Kara Pennington, 34, Trafficking in Heroin, Trafficking in Crack Cocaine
26. Brian Poling, 35, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
27. Demarco Saunders, 35, Trafficking in Heroin, Trafficking in Crack Cocaine
28. Rusty Scott, 34, Trafficking in Heroin
29. Fred Seymour, 53, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
30. Kyle Simonton, 24, Trafficking in Heroin
31. Joe Shackelford, 31, Trafficking in Crack Cocaine (2 cts)
32. Walker Tipton, 39, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
33. Ty Tracy, 46, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
34. Amanda Valentine, 33, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
35. Robert Vandagriff, 37, Trafficking in Heroin
36. Glen Westenberger, 33, Trafficking in Heroin, Trafficking in Crack Cocaine
37. Jason Wilson, 31, Trafficking in (Prescription) Drugs
38. Jeremiah Wolfe, 34, Trafficking in Heroin
39. Jerry Wynn, 41, Trafficking in Heroin
The majority of the arrest warrants were served today, however some suspects were previously arrested and charged in preparation for today's operation.
The Attorney General's Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission also assisted with the investigation.
Attorney General DeWine recently announced new efforts to fight heroin abuse and trafficking in Ohio, including the formation of a new Heroin Unit within BCI. A survey conducted in November by the Attorney General's Office of cause-of-death data in Ohio revealed a 107-percent increase in heroin deaths among more than half of Ohio's counties.