JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. – Several law enforcement agencies swept across Johnson County Tuesday to serve warrants in a wide-ranging drug investigation.
The operation involved the Franklin Police Department, Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, Edinburgh Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service. State police and U.S. Marshals were needed because some arrests were made in Marion and Morgan counties, which fall outside Johnson County's jurisdiction.
“Taking the drug dealers and the poison they have off our streets and away from the kids that are basically overdosing and dying at this point in time," said Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper.
According to the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office, authorities attempted to serve 43 felony arrest warrants for people linked to drugs and other crimes. At this time, 28 people have been arrested. Franklin Police Chief Timothy O'Sullivan had this to say to the remaining 15 people still on the loose: "Turn yourself in now because it's not a matter of if, it's when. We will catch up with you eventually."
Charges in the case stem from a six-month joint investigation involving the prosecutor’s office and Franklin police. The charges include dealing in a narcotic drug, dealing in controlled substances, dealing in methamphetamine, possession of narcotics and other counts.
"If you're going to do drugs in Johnson County, there are going to be officers looking for you, and they will take you off the street," Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper said.
One suspect arrested Tuesday morning is a 56-year-old grandmother who was suspected of dealing heroin. Police found Deborah Cole as she was caring for her baby grandson in an apartment off Fry Road in Greenwood. Officers waited at the apartment until Cole's daughter came home so Cole could hand the child back over to her daughter before being shackled and taken off the jail.
Another suspect, 39-year-old Charles Muns, was located in a room at the Tearman Motel off U.S. 31 south of Franklin. Police say they confiscated nearly 60 grams of meth, a gun and several knives when they took Muns into custody.
Autumn Wendel, who is staying at the motel, said she had observed nearly constant traffic and activity at the room where Muns had been staying.
“I would say 16 to 20 cars a night," Wendel said. "And then maybe 15 during the day. All different kinds of vehicles.”
“What was going on here was a lot of drug activity," Wendel continued. "Midnight, one, two, three, four in the morning for two days. Since Saturday, actually.”
Cooper said most of the heroin and meth being bought and sold around Johnson seems to be coming from Mexico.
"I don't remember the last time we found an active meth lab in the county," Cooper said.
Cooper also said about 75-percent of the felony charges filed in the county are related to drug activity in some way.