A seemingly routine traffic stop in Madison Township in September provided information that lead to the arrest of an alleged heroin dealer.
A Groveport undercover police officer, who works with the Franklin County Drug Task Force, said $1,400 worth of heroin, three firearms, drug paraphernalia and $600 in cash were seized at the suspect’s residence in Columbus.
“Additionally, through our investigation, we found that the suspect had a storage unit in Columbus. We obtained a subpoena to search the unit. The only thing in the unit was a safe that contained $31,000 in cash, another firearm and some jewelry,” said the Groveport undercover police officer (whose name is not being revealed in this article to protect his personal safety because he is working undercover).
The undercover officer said the Franklin County Drug Task Force consists of multiple police officers from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and from suburban towns in Franklin County. (He said the city of Columbus maintains its own drug task force.)
He said the county drug task force has filed a request for forfeiture of the nearly $32,000 in drug cash obtained in the heroin bust with the county civil court.
“If the court approves, the Groveport Police Department would receive a percentage share of the seized drug money that can be used for things like equipment and police training for our department,” said the undercover officer, who added that being part of the drug task force has other benefits.
“Narcotics investigations take a lot of time, a lot of resources and a lot of people to complete. It’s a big help to a smaller police agency like ours to be able to bring in K9 units, SWAT teams and additional officers when we’re executing search warrants on drug cases.”
Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier said another financial benefit for the city being part of the drug task force is that it only has to pay for the benefits and 40-hour work week for Groveport officers involved in the cases.
The undercover officer said narcotics are a problem all over the county.
“For example, we’ve had two narcotics search warrants in Groveport in the past month,” said the undercover officer. “Heroin dealers from Columbus, or elsewhere, can reach out to the suburbs or anywhere. The problem can originate in one place and disperse widely.”
The undercover officer said it is common for the drug task force to conduct undercover investigation narcotics buys on a daily basis throughout Franklin County.
“Joining the county drug task force helps us deter drug traffic in Groveport. He’s done a whale of a job,” Portier said of the Groveport undercover officer who is working with the drug task force.