The Zanesville-Muskingum County Joint Drug Task Force has taken more than $300,000 worth of illicit drugs off the streets this week.
Before this week’s busts, the task force had intercepted about $180,000 in drugs this year, along with more than a dozen firearms.
Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz considers this week’s bust “a home run” in comparison with recent raids, and he said the information gained during the ensuing investigations could net higher-level suppliers who have been on the sheriff’s radar for months.
“We’re receiving intel about drug operations like this almost daily,” Lutz said. “Sometimes, a trigger goes off and we’re able to capitalize. We just sewed up two good cases and may have saved someone from overdosing.”
Along with more than a quarter-million dollars of drugs such as heroin, methamphetamine, prescription pills and marijuana, three people face felony charges that could land some of them in prison for more than 10 years if convicted. Many of the suspects are habitual offenders who have already served prison time on drug charges.
The drug seizures began Monday, when a helicopter flyover conducted throughout the county by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation helped local law enforcement officials snatch $215,000 worth of marijuana from five fields.
Five people have been taken into custody and could face felony charges as early as next Wednesday, Lutz said.
Another Monday bust netted $45,000 worth of methamphetamine when deputies seized the drugs from a vehicle.
Adrian Tyo, 44, has been indicted for possession of drugs, a first-degree felony, and is being detained in the Muskingum County Jail on $200,000 bond in connection with the bust.
Monday’s drug seizures, though hefty, are not unprecedented in Muskingum County. Just last year, $216,000 in methamphetamine was seized as a result of an auspicious traffic stop in South Zanesville.
“We’re working these cases every day,” Lutz said. “You prepare for these situations, and you make it count.”
On Thursday morning, more than $77,000 worth of drugs, weapons, and cash were taken from 1620 Wheeling Ave. About 200 grams of methamphetamine was seized from the home, which was wired with several surveillance cameras and surrounded by watch dogs. Heroin, prescription pills, two guns and money also were taken as evidence, Lutz said.
The Joint Drug Task Force arrested six people during the 10:30 a.m. raid.
Ross Gannon, 35, has been charged in connection with Thursday’s raid. Gannon faces felony possession of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine as well as having a weapon under disability.
Gannon also was served with a Muskingum County grand jury indictment for another weapons under disability charge.
Lutz said Gannon and Durant are high-level offenders who often supply local drug dealers.
Each of the suspects charged during this week’s drug raids were convicted of several other felonies in Muskingum County. Lutz said he was relieved to have so many repeat offenders off the streets.
“These guys don’t learn their lesson,” Lutz said. “Some had warrants out for prior gun violations; most have been caught with drugs before. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rate this a 12.”
The raids come on the heels of last week’s drug raid at 1329 Pallas Ave. Two men were arrested after law enforcement conducted a warranted search at the home and reportedly found crack cocaine, guns and an unspecified amount of cash inside the home.
John Jamison, 34, and Derek Jamison, 32, were each charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine and having a weapon while under disability.