Sheriff searches four Clermont homes
The Clermont County Sheriff’s Office has made two arrests and more are likely in a large methamphetamine bust Thursday, Jan. 20.
“A one-year investigation involving several subjects involved in the manufacturing of methamphetamine culminated today with the execution of four search warrants,” Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg said. “Clermont County narcotics agents with the assistance of the Clermont County Special Response Team executed the warrants at residences that were suspected spots of meth production.”
The production sites were located at 4237 Moore Marathon Road, Goshen, 5925 Moore Marathon Road, Goshen, 2759 state Route 131, Newtonsville, and 754 Wright Street, Newtonsville. According to Chief Deputy Rick Combs the homes were identified through tracking individuals who purchased materials for production at local pharmacies.
“The operations consisted of individuals called “smurfs,’ whose job was to obtain pseudoephedrine, from various stores throughout the region and then supply the manufacturers or “cooks,’ with the decongestants at an inflated price or exchange it for meth or other illegal drugs,” Combs said. “Increasing methamphetamine activity has been documented within the last year in Clermont County. Our efforts will intensify and increase to reduce the flow of ingredients necessary to produce meth in Clermont County.”
Shawn James, 33, of 4237 Moore Marathon Road was charged with illegal manufacture of drugs after deputies found what they called an extensive operational meth lab at the home. Eugene Coogan, 34, of 2759 S.R. 131 was also charged with illegal manufacture of drugs after deputies allegedly found a meth lab and meth, heroin, drug paraphernalia, and items typically used in the sale of drugs in his home.
As of Tuesday, no arrests have been made as a result of a search of the remaining two homes searched. At the home at 5925 Moore Marathon Road however a small amount of meth and drug paraphernalia was recovered from the location. Trace amounts of heroin, meth, and drug paraphernalia were found at 754 Wright Street.
Combs said the investigation was advanced with the cooperation of local pharmacies as part of a program pioneered by the Sheriff that allows pharmacies and law enforcement officials to track purchases of ingredients from one store to the next in order to identify individuals purchasing large quantities in small batches from several different retailers.
“We get a lot of cooperation from stores throughout Clermont County,” Combs said. “We have a very good working relationship.”
Rodenberg said his department was also assisted by agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification.
“Due to the number of locations and scope of the operation, agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification assisted our Narcotics Task Force members in the processing and dismantling of the various labs,” Rodenberg said.
Combs said cooperation with additional law enforcement agencies is important in cases that stretch across several local jurisdictions.
“In a case like this one that are more involved we hold hands a lot with federal, state, and local agencies,” Combs said. “These activities aren’t usually restricted to one area, they stretch city to city, and county to county.”
Rodenberg and Combs said they are continuing the investigation as they analyze the information collected during and after the busts, and Rodenberg said it will continue until all potential suspects have been identified and charged.