DTF sweeps through Salem
Agents and police shut down another meth lab at 922 W. Pershing St. on Wednesday while serving warrants related to the first meth lab bust at the property in February, taking four people into custody for the current operation.
The discovery was made during a drug indictment arrest roundup conducted throughout Columbiana County by the Drug Task Force with help from Salem Police, the Sheriff's Office and the U.S. Marshal Service.
"I'm hoping we've made a dent with all the activity we've done in the past couple of years. We don't let them rest," Lt. Brian McLaughlin of the Sheriff's Office said.
McLaughlin serves as director of the county DTF, which obtained 32 indictments in the county Grand Jury at the end of October, with 25 of those indictments from cases the DTF worked in the city of Salem.
The agents descended on the West Pershing Street property at 9:15 a.m., armed with secret indictments for homeowner Christina Colian-Turney, 57, and her son, James Colian, 27, also of the residence.
They were both indicted for single counts of illegal manufacture of drugs, a second-degree felony, and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a third-degree felony, and three counts of possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony. She was also charged with a misdemeanor possession of drugs and he was charged with identity theft and an additional illegal assembly charge.
While there, agents saw some one-pot meth cooks, took all four residents into custody and secured a search warrant for the property. They discovered 21 one-pot containers and numerous acid gas generators on the premises,
McLaughlin explained that the pot, or in this case plastic drink bottles, is the vessel used to throw together the ingredients for a chemical reaction to make the meth. It's also sometimes called the shake and bake method, which he described as very volatile with a huge flash fire risk. On the scene, they also found some powder methamphetamine and the chemicals used to produce the drug.
Colian-Turney, Colian, her daughter Fallon Barnett, 31, and another resident, Bethany Devine, 23, were each charged for illegal manufacture of drugs, a second-degree felony, and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, a third-degree felony.
McLaughlin said this was one of the biggest meth lab finds in recent history. For the city of Salem, this was one of several locations in the past two years. A city housing inspector called to the scene Wednesday declared the home uninhabitable, meaning it will be off-limits now.
"Our biggest problem in the county with meth is in Salem. Salem has for some reason become Columbiana County's meth capital," McLaughlin said.
He and another agent put on protective suits and masks to handle the pots. Deputy U.S. Marshal Dan Deville said the chemicals they were putting into the containers would neutralize the bad chemicals and take away the flammability and make them safe for transport. While they were handling the chemicals, Salem firefighters stood at the ready with a hose in case of a flash fire or explosion.
Deville said there were two teams of agents serving warrants in Salem, another team in the southern part of the county and Lisbon, and a team in the Youngstown/Warren area, all related to the Columbiana County indictments.
Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott, who was also on the scene, said he was thrilled about the bust. He put a person on the DTF for a reason and that officer has had a lot of help from guys on the road feeding him information.
"We recognize we have a drug problem and we're doing something about it," he said.
When he first became chief, he said battling drugs would be his priority and it has been. He said people were being arrested all over town Wednesday and he's hoping they get stiff sentences when they go to court.
In a press release, McLaughlin noted that agents found a stolen handgun from Liverpool Township while serving warrants at 15838 Johnson Road, Lisbon. Cheri Bredeck was arrested on a warrant for burglary and Ralph Duke was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant for child support. Andrianna Parham of Columbus and Amy Byers-Delauder were both taken into custody for receiving stolen property related to the handgun. A search warrant served at the residence also yielded 47 grams of cocaine, another handgun, two shotguns and a rifle. Also recovered was $6,800 in cash. The cocaine had a street value of $4,700.
Other warrant arrests included:
- Eric Pidgeon, 42, of 5406 New Garden Ave., Salem, possession of drugs and tampering with evidence, with a gram of heroin and $1,700 in cash located.
- Brandon Toothman, 24, of 310 Vine St., Salem, two counts possession of drugs.
- Corey Snay, 20, of 609 S. Union Ave., Salem, two counts trafficking in drugs.
- Hubert Cline III, 50, of 929 Wood St., Wellsville, two counts possession of drugs.
- Denise Mountz, 31, of 443 Continental Drive, Salem, trafficking in drugs.
- Leonard Davison, 23, of Warren, trafficking in drugs.
- Antonio Torres II, 26, of Warren, two counts trafficking in drugs.
- Michael John Schneider, 18, of 711 E. Fifth St., Salem, illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs and possession of drugs.
- Joanne Brantley, 57, of 186 S. Howard Ave., Salem, permitting drug abuse.
- Malcolm Gifford, 28, of 7475 Rose Drive, Lisbon, three counts trafficking in drugs and four counts possession of drugs.
- Jeffrey Graffius, 35, of 765 E. Third St., Salem, three counts trafficking in drugs.