Columbus, Ind (December 22, 2015) - Authorities in Bartholomew County say they have arrested four high-profile drug dealers in the Columbus area.
On Friday, police arrested Carlos Martinez, Jose Dominguez, Albin Ascencio and Erlin Lucero. The men are accused of selling methamphetamine and cocaine around the Columbus area and each faces Class-A felony charges punishable by 20 to 50 years and a $10,000 fine upon conviction.
Sgt. Matt Harris with the Columbus Police Department said the arrests are the latest in a series of drug busts for the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Task Force. The task force, which combines members of the Columbus Police Department, Bartholomew County Sheriff and Prosecutor's Office, has had a busy year since it was formed in January.
“A short time ago we recovered 12 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of over half a million dollars,” Harris said. “Just a couple weeks ago, another big bust where over a quarter of a million dollars worth of meth was recovered in a raid.”
The latest arrests came after a year-long investigation which involved confidential informants, as well as audio and video surveillance. Harris said the four suspects were selling meth and cocaine, mostly in public places.
“They were in busy parking lots,” Harris said. “Places where families are going and not expecting to see this type of activities.”
Three of the suspects were being held on $1 million bond. Martinez was being held on $1.5 million bond.
“We’re happy to get these four off the streets and hopefully put a dent into the drug sales here in Columbus and Bartholomew County,” Harris said.
Harris also said the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Task Force will continue to aggressively investigate suspected drug activity.
“A simple anonymous call to officers can be the start of a bigger investigation and we’ve seen that repeatedly here coming about that way,” Harris said.
Two of the suspects are legal citizens of Mexico, the other two are citizens of Guatemala. The U.S. Department of Immigration has asked that the men be held while the department investigates their legal immigration status.
UPDATE: During the afternoon Tuesday, the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team announced charges against six other individuals as a result of other investigations:
“Investigators from the Bartholomew County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team, with the assistance of the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbus Police Department and the Hope Police Department, today served six of eight warrants for investigations in which they have been involved this year.
The following people were arrested on drug charges without incident and transported to the Bartholomew County Jail:
Travis Satterfield, 26, 2248 McKinley Ave., Columbus. Satterfield was arrested on two counts of Dealing Methamphetamine. He remains in BCJ in lieu of $55,000.00 bond.
Jerry Williamson, Jr., 30, 5141 Willow Way, Columbus. Williamson was arrested on two counts of Dealing Methamphetamine. He is in BCJ in lieu of a $75,000.00 bond.
Nathan Neely, 24, 1439 Pearl Street, Columbus, is already in the Bartholomew County Jail on an unrelated charge. He is now facing three counts of Dealing Methamphetamine and remains in BCJ without bond.
Danielle Hardin is currently in the Clark Co. Jail on unrelated charges. She is now facing drug charges and a “hold” has been placed on her.
Eric Froedge is currently in DOC on unrelated charges and is facing drug charges.
Amanda Jacobs was located in the Jennings County Jail on unrelated charges and now faces drug charges.”