Man indicted in county's biggest heroin seizure

A 36-year-old man arrested last week during a raid that law enforcement officials said yielded the largest seizure of heroin in Muskingum County history has been indicted in common pleas court.

The indictment comes less than a week after the Zanesville special response team raided Timothy R. Matson's home at 807 Larzelere Ave., where officials reported they seized $151,500 worth of drugs and cash. Matson was taken into custody at the scene, offcials said, and was later charged with three drug possession charges and one weapons charge.

On Wednesday, the Muskingum County Prosecutor's Office took Matson's case to a grand jury, which returned an indictment containing the original charges filed against him.

Matson, known as "World" on the streets, could face up to 26 years in prison 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 criminal 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 two possession counts have similar firearm specifications.

The prosecutor's office also attached two forfeiture specifications to the first two counts of the indictment.

The state is asking that Matson be forced to forfeit $18,809.31 in cash, a 2002 H2 Hummer, a Smith and Wesson .40-caliber handgun, a 2006 college national championship ring, a  security system, a Vizio television, digital scales, two silver necklaces with stones, a watch, a silver bracelet with stones and gems, two silver rings with stones and a fake $10 bill, Prosecutor Mike Haddox saod.

The cash and other items are believed to have been obtained with money from, or are otherwise tied to, Matson's alleged drug trade, according to the prosecutor's office.

Matson will next appear in common pleas court to be arraigned on the charges.

Matson's arrest and subsequent indictment 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. Matson became a target of law enforcement after officials received an anonymous tip regarding his alleged drug activities, Zanesville police Capt. Doug Merry has said.

When the special response team raided Matson's home, officials reported they seized about 2,600 unit doses of heroin with a street value of $105,000 alone. It's the largest such seizure in county history, Sheriff Matt Lutz said last week.

The second largest heroin seizure occurred in 2009, when agents seized 70 unit doses of the drug, Lutz said. That raid also resulted in Matson's arrest. He served a three-year prison term after he pleaded guilty in that case to nine felonies, most for possession and trafficking of various drugs.

Matson had been out of prison for nearly two years before his latest arrest, Lutz said.

In last week's raid, agents also said they 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, the release stated.

"Our direction and our emphasis with our drug units have been to take off major dealers and suppliers of drugs in our county, and this is just another case that is another example of that direction," Haddox said Wednesday.

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