Traffickers arrested after 7-month probe

Law enforcement agencies are cracking down on drug traffickers in Findlay, but it takes time to obtain evidence, then find and arrest the suspects, officials say.

On Thursday, members of the Hancock County METRICH Drug Task Force arrested three Findlay residents on separate drug warrants following a seven-month investigation. Two other Findlay suspects were located and arrested on warrants Thursday in Marion.

Twenty-five people, including the five on Thursday, have been arrested on drug charges in recent weeks after secret indictments were issued by a Hancock County grand jury.

There are more to be arrested, according to Findlay Police Detective Sgt. Justin Hendren.

“We’ve been busy,” Hendren said.

Many of the individuals came in contact with law enforcement and ended up getting arrested over the past several weeks, Hendren said.

On Thursday, the task force targeted around 13 people for arrest. Gathering before the sun rose, members of the task force discussed who they wanted off the street.

“We’re putting drug dealers in jail,” Hendren said. “It’s kind of a wake-up call. Probably within the next hour or two, there’s going to be a lot of nervous drug dealers.”

Dustin D. Boes, 34, Vincent R. Turner, 25, and Brae A. Cook, 26, all of Findlay, were arrested Thursday by authorities for drug-related charges.
Amanda A. Bryan, 34, and Joshua K. Combs, 27, both of Findlay, were located by Marion authorities and arrested on local charges Thursday.

“Any time we can take a known drug dealer off the street and make heroin or whatever drug they’re selling less available in our community, it’s a success,” Hendren said.

Additional secret indictments are outstanding and will be pursued, said Hancock County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Jason Seem.

“Hopefully this will send a message to drug dealers that we are actively pursuing them and we won’t stop until we catch them,” Seem said.

The number of drug possession and drug trafficking cases continues to increase each year, Hancock County Prosecutor Mark Miller said.

Locating a suspect can pose a large challenge for law enforcement because “they don’t stay put very long,” Hendren said.

“The folks that have been in the system and have been around the block, they know what they’re doing,” Hendren said. “When they’re moving narcotics, they know it draws attention so … they don’t stay in the same spot very long.”

Officials sometimes obtain information about drug activity from Hancock County residents. Sometimes those tips include limited information, leaving law enforcement to put the pieces together.

“There’s a lot of things that go on behind the scene that are very, very time-consuming that sometimes the general public doesn’t quite understand,” Hendren said.

“I’d love to wrap up a case in a week but it’s just not going to happen,” he said.

Police spent time Thursday searching for a home, with an unknown house number or street name, based on a tip. The home was eventually located based on clues from a photo.

Looking for one person, who may or may not be living in such a residence, takes a lot of time, Hendren said. But police have to look into it, he said.
Building a case also takes surveillance to confirm what a tipster says is happening, Hendren said.

“This is the part they don’t see,” Findlay Police Sgt. Brian Dill said.

“I wish they could see some of the work behind the scenes so they could actually see our part and that we’re making an effort,” Dill said.

The Hancock METRICH Drug Enforcement Unit is supported by METRICH in Mansfield and funded in part by the state Office of Criminal Justice Services.

Originally published in the Courier on June 18, 2016.

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