Neighbors were celebrating as law enforcement searched a suspected drug house Friday morning.
Drivers along Park Boulevard slowed down, honked horns and gave thumbs up to the MARMET Drug Task Force officials standing outside the two-story home. One motorist stopped to snap a photo of the three male suspects that sat handcuffed on the lawn.
A neighbor, John Stanley, watched from a back alley as police quickly ran into the house. He said he was drawn out by a loud boom, which he thought was a shotgun but was actually a flash grenade.
“I came out, wanted to see what was going on,” he said. “Curiosity, you know. I thought, man, maybe they’re getting another one.”
As police returned to their vehicles after the house was cleared, Stanley shook the hand of one officer, sparking smiles and laughs from both.
“It makes me happy they’re getting these people off the street,” Stanley said. “This is great. This is fantastic. I love it.”
The two homes targeted in Friday’s raid were investigated after several people in the community submitted complaints of suspicious activity to local law enforcement and the TIPS line.
“There are a lot of problem-complaint houses, and we’re trying to shut them down,” Lt. Chris Adkins with the Marion Police Department said.
In total, four suspects were arrested at two homes for allegedly selling heroin.
After an hour-long search of the property at 200 Park Blvd., Detective Christy Utley with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office found 5.2 grams of heroin inside surrounded by other drug paraphernalia. Other officers found $1,303 in suspected drug money in the home.
Shortly before 11 a.m., task force members arrested Demetrius Bradford, 19; Kelsey Mallory, 19; and Antoine Morris, 20; all originally from Detroit. All three men were charged with trafficking in heroin.
After the suspects were in custody, the Special Response Team hit a second home on 615 Davids St. There, MARMET detectives uncovered 41.3 grams of heroin, 66 additional bindles of heroin and 4.1 grams of crack cocaine. They also seized $809 in suspected drug money.
Larry C. Lewis, 36, the suspected ring leader in the operation, was found and arrested at his Davids Street home. He was charged with trafficking in heroin and possession of cocaine.
Maj. Jay McDonald said the the drugs seized from both homes were worth $15,800 combined.
“MARMET continues to aggressively track down drug dealers in Marion County,” McDonald stated in a release. “MARMET detectives are persistently working to rid our community of drug traffickers, and I am very proud of the work they do.”
Officials said they investigated the trafficking ring for about two months prior to the arrests.
Originally published in the Marion Star on May 24, 2014.