Task Force success against drug dealers noted

Southeast Ohio Organized Crime Task Force seizes nearly $8 million in drugs since 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine joined members of the Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia and Meigs Counties to provide an update on the task force’s operations over the last five years.

“This task force was created as part of my office’s Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission in 2013, and this team of investigators has been aggressively working to rid southeast Ohio of dangerous drugs ever since,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Since its inception, this task force has seized nearly $8 million in illegal drugs, and I strongly believe that the work of these investigators has saved lives.”

The Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia and Meigs Counties is made up of authorities from the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, Gallipolis Police Department, Middleport Police Department, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office, and Meigs County Prosecutor’s Office.

Since its formation, the task force has opened hundreds of investigations leading to the seizure of an estimated $7,896,000 in illegal drugs, such as heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. More than 200 people have been convicted on charges stemming from task force investigations. Task force members have served nearly 250 search warrants and seized drug proceeds in the amount of approximately $400,000 in cash.

“The success of our task force is undeniable,” said Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood. “Jurisdictional lines become blurred when it’s about saving our community and getting the job done. Our approach will never be distracted. Be assured, if you are involved in illegal activity, we will meet.”

“The benefit of having a major crimes task force focused on a multi-jurisdictional effort benefits the citizens of Gallia County in many ways,” said Gallia County Sheriff Matt Champlin. “The hard-working team of agents that we have assigned to our task force work aggressively every day to eliminate crime from our region and safeguard our counties.”

“The Gallia-Meigs Major Crimes Task Force has been vital to Meigs County. Without the tireless work of the task force, our community would be littered with countless high-level drug traffickers and serious, violent offenders,” said Meigs County Prosecutor James Stanley. “Because of task force investigations, Meigs County is much safer, and I am proud to work with them in the pursuit of justice and the loftier goal of a drug-free community.”

“Attorney General Mike DeWine realized the need of connecting law enforcement agencies between jurisdictions to combat organized crime,” said Gallia County Prosecutor Jason Holdren. “Thanks to his diligent pursuit and leadership, the Gallia-Meigs Task Force has investigated and helped secure major convictions that would not have taken place otherwise.”

“Since this task force was first established in 2013, the dedication to this cause from all of the participating agencies has been unwavering,” said Middleport Chief of Police Bruce Swift. “The goal of this group has been to stop or slow the influx of drugs into our communities and make our region a safer place to live. This group is still dedicated to that mission and will not give up the fight. Along with help of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, we will continue to make our communities safer.”

An example of a major case investigated by the task force is that of Antonio McIntosh. The Cincinnati man was sentenced to 33 years in prison after a task force investigation found that he was the leader of a large-scale drug trafficking ring operating out of a Gallia County business.

The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission assists local law enforcement agencies in combating organized crime and corrupt activities through the creation of multi-jurisdictional task forces. The commission is composed of members of the law enforcement community and is chaired by the Ohio Attorney General.

The full press conference was covered by the Meigs Independent Press and can be viewed via this link.