Four people were arrested Wednesday afternoon following a rather quick operation that stemmed from information gathered through a concerned neighbor.
"This would not have happened if not for people contacting us to provide us with information," said Capt. Scott Rotolo, with the Wooster Police Department.
All in all, three Wooster residents -- Nicholas Knapik, 32, Helena Kaser, 20, and Jessica Cahal, 26, -- along with Kenneth Stevens, 48, of Cleveland were arrested Wednesday afternoon on allegations of drug trafficking, drug possession and having weapons while under disability.
Charges were not filed by Thursday.
Rotolo said information was forwarded to Wooster PD of suspicious activity indicative of drug activity at a home located at 2012 Brookside Drive, which also has an address on Christmas Run Boulevard.
Information obtained by the department's Community Impact Unit (CIU) indicated cars coming and going at all hours of the night and recognized one of the individuals from public sources. This information was first reported to police just two days before the warrant was executed.
Rotolo said once the information was verified, a search warrant was obtained by Wooster PD and the Medway Drug Enforcement Agency. He added that there was information that there may be weapons inside, so the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Special Response Team (SRT) was also employed and deputies from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, along with officers from several other area departments.
Senior Agent Jason Waddell noted that at 3:30 p.m. the SRT unit secured the residence and arrested the four people who were inside the home without incident.
Law enforcement found suspected methamphetamine, heroin, paraphernalia, cash and a loaded 9mm Uzi-style semiautomatic firearm.
Rotolo said the individuals who own the home moved out several months ago and were approached by people wanting to rent the house. But that they were "provided bad information" about who actually would be staying at the house.
Rotolo gave thanks to Medway and other agencies, as well as credited Patrolman Guy Bremenour of the CIU for his role in planning the operation.
Waddell noted that "it's important for people in the community see that other people are coming down" to Wooster from outside the area to engage in drug dealing, along with locals who deal too.
Of the four arrested, Knapik has an extensive criminal history, according to court records, in Wayne County. He has three pending drug cases in Wayne County Common Pleas Court on new allegations.
Both he and Cahal have also been charged and had a case reopened from allegations they were involved in an August incident on Spink Street where a man allegedly overdosed at his residence.
"We're tired of dealing with him," Waddell said of Knapik.
By STEVEN F. HUSZAI Staff Writer