Ten Perry County residents faced a judge Monday morning after being arrested during a drug sweep.
The undercover operation nicknamed, "Spring Cleaning" began in April and led to the secret indictments of fifteen individuals for narcotic related offenses. Early Monday morning the sheriff’s office along with New Lexington Police and the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force arrested ten of those individuals, most still in pajamas and brought them before Judge Tina Boyer for arraignment.
"We were trying to catch everyone there and unprepared," said Sheriff William Barker. "We tried to reduce any potential for people to be ready for us. If we catch them asleep at home they aren’t prepared if they are going to be combative. We wanted the element of surprise on our side."
While the charges for each individual differ they range from the illegal sale of drugs, the use of drugs or the manufacturing of drugs. Officials will continue to search for the others indicted or being investigated.
"We’re hunting them. We’re coming out to them. So if they want to turn themselves in here at our office or at the police department either one of the agencies will be glad to receive these people," said Sheriff Barker.
As a result of Monday’s arrests authorities said they walked into a marijuana growing operation and a meth lab. They said it’s tips from residents that make arrests possible.
"To all the citizens of the entire county and the City of New Lexington we hear what you’ve been saying and this is a result of what you’ve been telling us," said New Lexington Police Chief Scott Ervin.
The judge entered not guilty pleas for all those arrested during the sweep and all were released on their own recognizance. Since 2009 the Central Ohio Drug Enforcement Task Force in Perry County has seized 67.8 pound of marijuana, over 900 doses of prescription medications and over thirty-eight thousand dollars.
Those arrested Monday include:
33-year-old Valerie Chevalier of Junction City. She’s charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs and trafficking in heroin.
James Confer is from Mount Perry. The 41-year-old is charged with three counts of permitting drug abuse and three charges of forfeiture specification.
35-year-old Angela Martin is from New Lexington. He’s charged with four counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug and a count of trafficking in drugs, aggravated trafficking in drugs and distributing dangerous drugs.
Nathan McGill is from New Lexington. He’s charged with a count of theft, seven counts of forgery and possession of heroin.
26-year-old Michael Mettler II is from Mount Perry and faces three charges of aggravated trafficking in drugs.
28-year-old Greg Patterson of Somerset is charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs, illegal manufacturing of drugs, illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs and aggravated possession of drugs.
20-year-old Joshua Prime from Junction City is charged with two counts of trafficking in marijuana.
Elizabeth Stalling also of Junction City is facing six counts of trafficking in marijuana and two forfeiture specifications.
And 37-year-old Chad Starner of New Lexington is charged with two counts of trafficking in marijuana.