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Undercover Drug Operation Nets 17 Indictments



An undercover drug investigation in the Swanton area has resulted in the indictment of 17 people, including 13 on drug-related charges.

William M. Talbott, Swanton police chief, and Darrell Merillat, Fulton County sheriff, announced late Wednesday, Sept. 26, that their departments have concluded the operation.

Indictments against 15 of the 17 were handed down by the Fulton County grand jury, Monday, Sept. 24.

Talbott said those indicted were all at fairly low levels of the drug trade.

“We wanted to let people know that if you come to Swanton to sell drugs, you might be selling to a police officer, or someone working for the police,” he said.

Of the indictments on drug charges, five allege activities involving marijuana; two, connections with cocaine; and a third, involvement with heroin.

There were also two cases that alleged the sale of prescription painkillers, and three involved allegations of other drug involvement.

Indicted

Those indicted in connection with the undercover operation:

•Jennifer M. Dobson, 28, Wauseon; indicted on one count each, possession of marijuana, trafficking in marijuana; on or about June 1, allegedly possessed and prepared 200-1,000 grams of marijuana for sale.

•John J. Felix, 52, Fayette; indicted on one count each, permitting drug abuse, possession of cocaine; on or about April 12, allegedly possessed 10-20 grams of cocaine; allegedly permitted his vehicle to be used in the commission of the alleged drug offense.

•Anthony M. Halt, 24, Wauseon; indicted on one count each, possession of marijuana, trafficking in marijuana; on or about June 1, allegedly possessed and prepared 200- 1,000 grams of marijuana for sale.

•Joshua L. Henry, 28, Delta; indicted on one count, permitting drug abuse, two counts, aggravated trafficking in drugs; on or about May 29 and June 7, sold or offered to sell a drug.

•Robert Z. Kasefang, 22, Berkey; indicted on one count, trafficking in marijuana; on or about May 6-13, 2011, allegedly sold or offered to sell marijuana.

•Larry W. Lawniczak, Jr., 36, Swanton; indicted on two counts, trafficking in heroin; on or about June 7 and June 15, allegedly sold or offered to sell heroin.

•Joshua D. Miller, 20, Swanton; indicted on one count, trafficking in marijuana; on or about June 22, allegedly sold or offered to sell marijuana.

•Chad J. Monaghan, 19, Swanton, indicted on one count, trafficking in drugs; on or about July 16, allegedly sold or offered to sell Vicodin, a prescription painkiller.

•Michael R. Ward, 22, Wauseon; indicted one count, trafficking in marijuana; on or about July 10, allegedly sold or offered to sell marijuana.

•J. Cirilo Reyes II, 19, Wauseon, indicted on two counts, aggravated trafficking in drugs; on or about May 18 and June 22, allegedly sold or offered to sell Psilocyn, the hallucinogenic component found in certain types of mushrooms.

•Rema J. Sweidan, 24, Delta; indicted on one count, permitting drug abuse; on or about May 29, allegedly permitted her vehicle to be used in a felony drug abuse offense.

•Travis J. Taylor, 28, Fayette, indicted on one count each, possession of cocaine and trafficking in cocaine; on or about April 12, allegedly sold or offered to sell cocaine.

•Wendie S. Thomas, 39, Swanton, indicted on two counts, aggravated trafficking in drugs; on or about June 13 and 14, allegedly sold or offered to sell Percocet, a prescription pain killer, in the vicinity of a juvenile.

In addition, Jason J. Contreras, 39, and Janet L. Perdue, 44, who share the same Lyons address, were indicted by a grand jury on June 18 in connection with the Swanton undercover operation.

Each was indicted on a single count of trafficking in marijuana,for allegedly selling the drug on or about May 23.

Non-Drug

Two others were indicted as part of the undercover operation on non-drug charges.

•David R. Browning, III, 33, Lyons; indicted on two counts each, breaking and entering, grand theft of a motor vehicle; on or about May 17 to July 15, allegedly broke into the White City restaurant, and allegedly stole an off-road motorcycle and a small utility vehicle from Fulton County residences.

•Ashley L. Shaffer, 22, Lyons, indicted on two counts, breaking and entering, one count, complicity to commit receiving stolen property; on or about June 27 to July 15, she allegedly broke into the White City Restaurant, and allegedly aided or abetted another in receiving or disposing of property she allegedly knew or had reasonable cause to believe was stolen.

Search Warrant

During the investigation, Swanton police officers and FCSD deputies executed two search warrants, one in Lyons, and one in Wauseon.

Talbott said when he took over command of the Swanton Police Department in March, Ann Roth, Swanton mayor, told him she was concerned with the level of drug activity in the community.

Talbott said he joined forces with the Fulton County Sheriff Department, working with Merillat and Roy Miller, chief deputy.

“It never would have gotten off the ground without them,” Talbott said.

The sheriff department paid for a large share of the investigation.

FCSD provided cash for drug buys, vehicles, manpower, and an undercover officer.

Talbott said his department paid for overtime for his officers.

After indictments were handed down on Monday, Swanton police officers and FCSD deputies began rounding up those indicted. As of Thursday morning, 11 of the 17 are in custody.

Many of those arrested were surprised, Talbott said, adding some had forgotten about trips they had made to Swanton.

He said the remaining six either know they are wanted or will soon find out.-Posted 9.27, 12:15 pm



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