A Bartholomew County man arrested during a traffic stop may be linked to a tainted batch of heroin brought into Columbus last month, police said.
As the result of a two-month investigation, Ryan S. Redmon, 25, was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon on an arrest warrant charging him with two counts of dealing in a narcotic drug, according to a news release from the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.
Redmon was taken into custody in a high-risk arrest, which involves officers having their guns drawn.
Investigators have reason to believe Redmon is a significant player in the local heroin trade, said Maj. Chris Lane of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department.
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While team members hope his arrest will put a dent in the shipment of the dangerous opioid to the Columbus area, other drug dealers may attempt to take Redmon’s place, Lane said.
Investigators suspect Redmon, who lives on County Road 150W northwest of Columbus, had been bringing heroin in from Cincinnati and Indianapolis, the release stated.
Redmon is suspected of bringing in a batch that played a role in seven local overdoses the weekend of Sept. 17 and 18, Columbus Police spokesman Lt. Matt Harris said.“We believe there were additional substances added to this heroin that made it more powerful,” Harris said Wednesday.
Officers are awaiting confirmation on toxicology tests.
After at least 17 drug overdoses were reported Aug. 23 in Jackson and Jennings counties, with regional law enforcement agencies warning that some heroin coming from the Cincinnati area might contain a tranquilizer meant for large animals — with just grains of the substance lethal to humans.
A 52-year-old Jennings County woman, who lived in Country Squire Lakes subdivision, died the following day after overdosing on heroin, police said.
Reports of increasing use of heroin in central Indiana began after state and federal governments began more closely monitoring physicians and pharmacies that provide painkiller drugs,
The Columbus Police Department began to see significant increases in heroin overdoses in 2013, when three heroin deaths were reported, followed by five in 2014.
Due to the widespread availability of the opioid-antidote drug naloxone, just one heroin-related death occurred in 2015, local police agencies reported.
However, six people died of heroin overdoses in Bartholomew County during the first three months of this year — and three more heroin deaths have been recorded since then, Coroner Larry Fisher said.
How it happened
Tuesday’s arrest was set into motion after a member of the narcotics enforcement team recognized Redmon as a passenger in a car he was following, Lane said.After both sheriff deputies and city officers were called in as backup, the vehicle was pulled over near Indianapolis Road by nearly a half-dozen police officers with their guns drawn, Lane said.
Although there was no evidence to indicate Redmon had a weapon, the extent of his suspected drug activity indicated it would enhance the safety of arresting officers to conduct a high-risk felony traffic stop, Lane said.
Following a search, Redmon is also facing new charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of a legend drug-injection device, the release stated.
Redmon was a passenger in a vehicle driven Chelsie D. McFall, 27, of County Road 700W, Elizabethtown, Harris said.
McFall is not believed to be involved in heroin dealing, Harris said. However, McFall was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a legend drug-injection device.
Tuesday’s arrest of Redmon was the second in the past two weeks.
On Oct. 12, he was stopped for speeding at about 7:10 p.m. on Central Avenue, Harris said. A police K9 detected the odor of narcotics and heroin was found in one of Redmon’s pants pockets, Harris said. A small of amount of methamphetamine was also found in his wallet, Harris said.
During a search of the vehicle, marijuana and drug paraphernalia were also found, Harris said.
In that case, Redmon was arrested on charges of possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine, possession of a legend drug-injection device, possession of marijuana, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Redmon had been released from the Bartholomew County Jail after posting $41,000 bond, jail officials said.
Following this week’s arrests, filing of criminal charges — if any — against Redmon and McFall will be determined by the office of Bartholomew County prosecutor Bill Nash.
Although bond for McFall was originally set at $16,000, an evaluation showed she was a low risk factor for flight, a jail spokeswoman said. As a result, McFall was released from the Bartholomew County Jail on Wednesday morning.
However, Redmon was still being held behind bars Wednesday in lieu of $115,000 surety or $11,500 cash, the spokeswoman said.
Team members said their drug-dealing investigation is ongoing, and additional arrests are expected.