POMEROY – The major crime task force has made multiple arrests leading to 43 drug indictments according to the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office.
Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood, Gallia County Sheriff Joseph Browning, Middleport Chief of Police Bruce Swift, Gallipolis City Chief of Police Jeff Boyer along with Meigs County Prosecutor Colleen Williams and Gallia County Prosecutor Jeffrey Adkins report the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission’s Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia-Meigs secured 43 drug indictments with a total of 135 counts of illegal drug activities within Meigs and Gallia Counties at the most recent grand jury sessions.
The operation started on Friday, July 22 in the evening when The Major Crimes Task Force secured a search warrant at 539 Broadway Street in Middleport at the residence of Nicholas Haning. Agents along with assistance from the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and the Middleport Police Department made entry at the residence where Nicholas Haning was arrested on an indictment for alleged drug trafficking. After completing a search of the residence agents had seized drugs and drug paraphernalia. Haning was then incarcerated in the Middleport Jail.
On Monday morning, July 25, a warrant round up was conducted by the Major Crimes Task Force with the help of the local departments which started at 7 a.m. and concluded at midnight. Officers arrested 17 individuals in the two counties stemming from long term drug investigations by the Major Crimes Task Force with the assistance from local departments.
During the warrant round up a search warrant was obtained for the Robert William Christopher Qualls residence located at 204 Spring Avenue in Pomeroy. The Meigs County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Middleport Police Department and Task Force Agents made entry into the residence and arrested Sarah Blankenship, Trenton Qualls and Dwayne Madison. After completing a search of the residence Task Force Agents seized drugs and drug paraphernalia. Robert William Christopher Qualls was arrested in Middleport shortly after the warrant was executed. The Pomeroy Police Department assisted with traffic control and the transporting of arrestees.
In a separate incident at 205 Spring Avenue the Ohio Adult Parole Authority with the assistance of the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and the Major Crimes Task Force conducted a probation search at the residence of Melvin Hayes. Hayes was arrested on an indictment stemming from drug activity.
The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office along with Task Force Agents did a consent search at the Phillip Snapp located at 194 Watts Road after completing the search Agents seized 20 marijuana plants growing on the property. A case will be completed by Task Force Agents and submitted to the Gallia County Prosecutors Office for charges.
The following individuals were arrested during the warrant round up:
Jason Milliron- Age 37 Middleport, Ohio
Brad Davenport- Age 36 Middleport, Ohio
Ezra Rathburn- Age 21 Rutland, Ohio
Lorena Ackerman- Age 46 Pomeroy, Ohio
Justin Allen- Age 31 Syracuse, Ohio
Brian Cleland- Age 41 Rutland, Ohio
Lance Herman- Age 52 Middleport, Ohio
Melvin Hayes- Age 38 Pomeroy, Ohio
Dwayne Madison- Age 35 Pomeroy, Ohio
Sarah Blankenship- Age 31 Pomeroy, Ohio
Robert William Christopher Qualls- Age 37 Pomeroy, Ohio
Nicholas Haning- Age 38 Middleport, Ohio
Trenton Qualls- Age 36 Middleport, Ohio
Greg Jones- Age 39 Gallipolis, Ohio
Sean Smith- Age 37 Gallipolis, Ohio
Linda Smith- Age 34 Bidwell, Ohio
Courtney Miller- Age 25 Bidwell, Ohio
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said, “Those bringing drugs into our communities must be stopped. By working with the Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia Meigs Counties, we are working together to hold drug traffickers responsible.”
Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood commented on the effort of the task force, “This group of grand jury indictments was enormous, 43 indictments including 135 counts of illegal drug activities within our communities and shows there’s work being done and we as a group will not tolerate drugs being brought into our communities or sold, we’ve taken a stance as a group and won’t tolerate the illegal drug activities.”
“The cases presented here are an ongoing effort between local law enforcement and the task force. We appreciate the investigative work conducted to help our community and continuing between the organizations, we appreciate citizen tips and encourage residents to call our tip line,” according to Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning.
Middleport Police Chief Bruce Swift added, “The war our communities face against the heroin epidemic is an ongoing battle. Cases like these reassure the community that law enforcement is doing everything in our power to fight it. Several suppliers of heroin have been taken off the streets and this case should serve as a reminder to all those trafficking drugs in our communities; there will be a case brought against you, you will be arrested, and you will be prosecuted for your actions.”
Gallipolis Police Chief Jeff Boyer noted, “Today’s arrest are the result of hard work, long hours and dedication that our local law enforcement officers and the Major Crime Task Force commit to everyday in eradicating drugs, and drug dealers from our community’s.”
Meigs County Prosecutor Colleen Williams said, “With the investigation, indictments and arrests of numerous drug dealers, primarily, heroin dealers, the Meigs County Prosecutor’s Office hopes to protect the community from the negative effects caused by drug dealing, including but not limited to, thefts, child abuse and neglect, and general unproductivity. The ultimate hope is that by stopping the criminal enterprises, that those who have not begun to use will not have easy access to these terrible drugs. I commend the work of the Gallia-Meigs Major Crimes Task Force, on their dedication to making our community a safe place to live and raise our children.”
The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commissions Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia-Meigs Counties was formed in September 2013 and consists of the Gallia and Meigs County Sheriff’s Offices and the Gallipolis and Middleport Police Departments and the Meigs and Gallia County Prosecutor Offices. The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission is part of the Ohio Attorney General Office. If you’ve been a victim of organised crime, you could contact specialists Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat to see how they can help you take legal action against the perpetrators.
All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.