Agents take $105,000 in heroin off streets, arrest one

In April 2009, Timothy R. Matson was arrested with 70 unit doses of heroin, the largest such seizure in Muskingum County history, authorities said.

This week, that record was broke, authorities said, by Matson once more.

Local law enforcement announced Friday that they seized approximately 2,600 unit doses of heroin with a street value of $105,000. It's the largest single seizure in county history, said Sheriff Matt Lutz, and resulted in the arrest in a major drug supplier.

"If he is not the biggest supplier, he's one of the biggest suppliers," Lutz said.

It was part of a joint investigation among local agencies, including the Zanesville Police Department, Muskingum County Sheriff's Office and the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force. Agents with ZPD's special response team raided Matson's home Thursday at on 807 Larzelere Ave. in Zanesville.

In addition to the heroin, agents seized $25,000 worth of methamphetamine, $3,000 worth of marijuana and $18,500 in cash, according to a news release. A semi-automatic handgun and a car were also seized.

Matson, a "big player" in the local drug business, had been on law enforcement's radar since he was released from prison two years ago, Lutz said. The 36-year-old had served a three-year prison term after his 2009 case in which he pleaded guilty to nine felonies, most for possession and trafficking of various drugs.

"He's been known as a drug dealer since (2009) and we put him away the first time," Lutz said during a Friday afternoon press conference. "It's just a matter of getting all the information we need for a case."

Police received an anonymous tip about Matson's alleged drug activities, said Capt. Doug Merry with ZPD, which sparked a renewed investigation into the Zanesville man.

"That's extremely valuable because they're seeing it going on and they can relay it to us," Merry said.

Detectives took Matson into custody on Thursday at the Larzelere Avenue home. The Muskingum County Prosecutor's Office then filed charges against him Friday morning.

Matson, known as "World" on the streets, could face up to 26 years on four separate felonies, including possession of heroin, a first-degree felony, possession of methamphetamine, a second-degree felony, possession of marijuana, a fifth-degree felony, and a third-degree felonious weapons charge.

Matson's prior record prohibits him from owning weapons.

The first count contains a major drug offender specification and a firearm specification, which could add prison time onto a potential sentence. The other three possession counts have similar firearm specifications.

Matson is being held at the city jail and will appear next week in municipal court for a bond hearing. His case could soon be presented to a Muskingum County grand jury, which would consider a felony indictment against Matson in common pleas court.

Matson could face additional charges as detectives continue to investigate the case, authorities said. And more arrests could also follow.

"We in the task force are trying to target these people that are bringing in large quantities (of drugs,)" said Lt. Paul Cortright, the commander of CODE and a member of the Licking County Sheriff's Office.

"We continue to do the best that we can."

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