Authorities have jailed and charged a father and son who they said were supplying methamphetamine to Muskingum County and two neighboring counties.
After a Monday raid at a Trinway home, police arrested 56-year-old Larry W. Colebank Sr., who is suspected of supplying methamphetamine across the region, said Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz. His son, 30-year-old Larry Colebank Jr., also was soon arrested.
The father and son are in custody at the county jail on drug trafficking charges.The arrests were the result of a monthlong investigation by the Zanesville Police Department, the Muskingum County Sheriff's Office and the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Although he declined to release details of the investigation, Lutz said "we take every source of information we get seriously."
Agents raided the home at 3215 Fifth St.in Trinway on Monday after investigating the elder Colebank's alleged drug trafficking activities.
As a result of the investigation, agents reported they seized about 100 grams of methamphetamine valued at $50,000, $21,000 in cash, three guns and two vehicles.
Authorities allege the men were supplying lower level dealers in not only Muskingum County, but also in Perry and Licking counties.
When somebody has 100 grams of meth, "That's somebody that's buying meth to resell and distribute," Lutz said. "There is no doubt in my mind that in Muskingum County that (the Colebanks were) supplying several people."
County Prosecutor Mike Haddox has filed charges against both men.
The elder Colebank has been charged with two counts of trafficking in drugs, a second-degree felony; trafficking in drugs, a third-degree felony; trafficking in drugs, a first-degree felony; possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony; and three third-degree felonious weapons charges.
He is not permitted to own firearms because of a 2002 drug conviction on his record. He served an eight-year prison sentence in that case.
Many of the elder Colebank's charges include firearm specifications, and two have specifications indicating the alleged offense was committed near a juvenile. The specifications would add prison time onto any potential sentence.
He faces up to 44 years in prison if convicted.
The younger Colebank, of Dresden, has been charged with one count of trafficking in drugs, a second-degree felony, with a juvenile specification. He faces up to eight years in prison if convicted.
Both men remain at the county jail on $500,000 bonds and are scheduled to appear in county court next week for a preliminary hearing. The prosecutor's office could present their case to a grand jury before that, which would consider a felony indictment in common pleas court.
The arrests come as county officials continue to target major traffickers, cutting off the supply to the minor drug dealers on the streets, Lutz said. Once the suspects are arrested, the prosecutor's office has focused on recommending that judges sentence the traffickers to maximum prison terms.
"It's just another great job by our city/county drug team and the Central Ohio Drug Task Force," Haddox said. "We believe (the elder) Colebank is one of the major drug dealers in our community, and we'll continue to eradicate those type of people from our county."
It's the second major raid within the past week that local agencies have conducted in Muskingum County. A raid on Larzelere Avenue in Zanesville last week yielded a seizure of $151,500 worth of drugs and cash, including 2,600 unit doses of heroin, officials reported.
Timothy R. Matson was arrested in the raid, which officials said was the county's largest single heroin seizure, and has since been indicted by a grand jury.
Like the elder Colebank, Matson had served prison time for drugs before. It's representative of a larger recidivist problem: As convicted felons are released from prison, they return to their drug business, Lutz said.
"It's a huge problem in our community," Lutz said. "We're seeing repeat offenders all the time."
Still, he said, law enforcement officials will focus on cutting off the supply, which he hopes will lead to a reduction in demand.