The past year was spent gathering tips, working with informants and setting up undercover drug deals. And this week, police and prosecutors were ready to arrest 50 people charged with drug offenses.
On Tuesday morning, about 250 law enforcement officers with local police departments, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, U.S. Marshals Service and the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office, along with 20 K-9 officers, started gathering between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m.
They spread out to find and arrest 50 people charged with drug dealing and aiding in drug-dealing offenses. They found them all across Johnson County and central Indiana, including Columbus and Edinburgh.
Less than 12 hours later, 30 of the 50 were arrested and booked in the Johnson County jail, and officials expected the other 20 would be there in the next 24 hours.
The following people were charged or arrested Tuesday as part of the year-long investigation:
William Sparks, 24, 1628 Cottage Ave., Columbus — two counts of dealing heroin, arrested and held on $15,400 bond.
Bobby Davis, 37, 101 S. Kyle St., Edinburgh — dealing a controlled substance, arrested and released from jail on $1,200 bond.
Thomas Owens, 31, 9032 S. County Road 600W, Edinburgh — aiding in dealing a controlled substance, not arrested.
“We hope that this drug bust with these drug dealers will send a strong message to drug dealers that you don’t come into Johnson County and deal drugs without consequences,” Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper said.
Police used tips, informants and undercover officers to buy drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. In some cases, the deal was for a small amount of the drug — less than a gram — and in others was more than 30 grams, Cooper said. No one was found to be making the drugs, he said.
“We have a lot of people that are dying, not only in our county, but in other counties throughout Indiana, from heroin issues,” Sheriff Doug Cox said. “It is a problem. We know that it’s a problem. We will continue to fight the problem as long as there is a problem.”
He noted that about half of the people charged were women, which used to be a rare sight.
“It just goes to show you how much the drug trade or drug business has taken over families,” Cox said.
No one was injured when the arrests were made, but firearms were found in some homes, Cooper said.