Police: 3 jailed in meth bust

Police arrested three people and confiscated 4 pounds of methamphetamine at the Hilltop Mobile Home Park during a drug raid that is part of an ongoing six-month investigation.

Members of the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team, assisted by the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, Columbus Police Department and its SWAT team, served a search warrant at the mobile home park at U.S. 31 and County Road 650S, southwest of Elizabethtown, at 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Arrested were:

Juan L. Chavez, 36, Elizabethtown, on a preliminary charge of dealing in methamphetamine. Chavez is being held at the Bartholomew County Jail in lieu of $200,000 bond.

Bryan Miranda-Alvidrez, 21, Moreno Valley, California, on a preliminary charge of false informing, held in the Bartholomew County Jail on a 48-hour hold with no bond.

Christina A. Amores, 37, 716 Pershing Drive, Seymour, on a preliminary charge of possession of paraphernalia. Amores has been released from the Bartholomew County Jail for medical reasons, jail officials said.

Police estimated the street value of the confiscated meth at more than $250,000, sheriff deputies said. A handgun and drug paraphernalia also were found during the search, deputies said.

Monday’s arrests are the second-largest amount of drugs confiscated this fall in Bartholomew County.

On Sept. 9, Columbus police arrested three people and confiscated 2.3 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of about $100,000 after they stopped to help a stranded motorist on I-65 just south of the State Road 46 exit. The stranded motorist led police back to a van that had run out of gas along the interstate, where police found the meth in a safe.

In what is believed to be one of the county’s largest drug raids ever, police found 12½ pounds of methamphetamine in a box in a house at 1835 S. Gladstone Ave. on Nov. 5 when serving a search warrant. The meth had a street value in excess of $550,000, police said. The house is just south of the Columbus city limits. Police arrested three people in that raid.

Investigators declined to answer questions about the three suspects’ connection to the Hilltop mobile home park, as none of the three who were arrested listed a Hilltop home address. The park has 20 to 30 mobile homes, deputies said.

Columbus Police Department SWAT team members kept people from entering the area during the raid. Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. was asked by police to delay buses going to the area Monday afternoon until police cleared the scene, deputies said.

Bartholomew County Sheriff Matt Myers said it is not unusual to use a SWAT team when police are serving warrants about drug dealing, as the people involved commonly are armed. The Columbus police SWAT team was used as a precaution for community safety, he said.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is not releasing further information about the arrests because of the ongoing investigation, Myers said.

The team is made up of Columbus police, the sheriff’s department and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office working together to target those who are manufacturing, using or selling drugs in the area. Formed in January, the team shares information about drug activity and works with other agencies, including the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Myers said.

Team members thanked Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott, the Seymour Police Department Tactical Team, the DEA and the U.S. Postal Service for assistance in the Hilltop investigation.

Myers also asked the community to continue to provide information to police about suspected drug activity that they see in Bartholomew County.

“The community plays a major role in this,” Myers said. “If you see people coming in and going out of places, and it appears suspicious, we need people to call us,” he said.

Have a tip?

Anyone who wishes to report suspected drug activity may contact the Columbus Police Department or the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department with information.

The numbers are:

  • Columbus Police Department: 812-376-2600
  • Sheriff’s tip line: 812-379-1712
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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.