JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind.– After a three-month investigation, authorities in Johnson County issued arrest warrants for 35 people accused of dealing methamphetamine.
Johnson County prosecutor Bradley Cooper says some of the drug deals were “quite brazen.” He said a dealer conducted two deals out of his car while parked in front of a post office in the middle of the day.
Most of the meth seized in the investigation appears to have ties to Mexico.
“You can test the drugs in a lab, which shows the drugs are a little more potent,” said Johnson County Deputy Prosecutor Megan Smither. “We also have not busted a manufacturing operation in Johnson County in two years.”
Investigators believe local drug dealers are relying more heavily on meth from Mexico because of the recent crack down on ephedrine sales in stores.
“It appears that any methamphetamine that is coming from Mexico is a little better quality, and it’s cheaper, easier to get than making it here at home,” Smither said.
The three-month sweep involved multiple police agencies across Johnson County. Narcotics investigators conducted undercover drug purchases in order to catch suspects. At times, Smither said, detectives will choose not to arrest a low-level drug user on the spot, in hopes of being lead to a dealer who is higher up on the distribution chain.
“A lot of the people that are using the drugs, they’re the ones we need to be focusing on getting them help,” Smither said. “We want to crack down on those who are giving them the drugs, who are preying on the people who are addicted to these drugs.”
The sweep comes as central Indiana is set to receive more federal money, resources and partnerships to fight drug trafficking. Marion County was recently designated a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The focus on stopping drug traffickers from entering the Indianapolis area is expected to benefit surrounding communities like Johnson County.
In the meantime, prosecutors hope this most recent sweep will send a message to drug users and dealers.
“In Johnson County, we are going to aggressively pursue prosecuting them for any drug, or drug dealing crimes,” Smither said.
At last check, 22 of the charged individuals had been arrested; 13 were still at large and police were still searching for them.
Cooper provided the following breakdown of where the suspected drug dealers resided:
- 12 from Edinburgh
- 7 from Greenwood
- 4 from Franklin
- 4 from Columbus
- 3 from Indianapolis
- 2 from Nineveh
- 1 each from Bargersville, Greenfield and Avon