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Grand jury returns 9 indictments

A grand jury has returned nine secret drug-related indictments, the result of a seven-month investigation by the Lawrence County Drug Task Force.

Tuesday, November 23, 1999

A grand jury has returned nine secret drug-related indictments, the result of a seven-month investigation by the Lawrence County Drug Task Force.

"The cases involved prescription drug trafficking, marijuana and crack cocaine," said Tim Sexton, chief investigator for county prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. and task force director.

Last week, prosecutors presented the grand jury with evidence gathered since May during those investigations.

Jurors issued the nine true bills Friday, and declared them secret until authorities could identify and arrest those charged, Sexton said.

"We’re going to start looking for some of the people, but we know a few are not in the area right now," he said.

The task force, formed in 1998, has support from Ironton police, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, and police in the villages of Coal Grove and South Point.

Its purpose is to bring the manpower of several area law enforcement agencies together to combat drug problems through joint investigations and public tips on from a hotline, 533-5511.

"We have obtained our grant again next year, which will fund operations from January on," Sexton said. "So, we’re going to hit the streets hard."

Also last week, the grand jury heard from 23 witnesses and presented 13 other indictments filed in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court. Those indictments were:

– John Dale Larsen, 40, of 389 County Road 23, Ironton: for failure to appear in court, a felony.

– Henry Taylor, 74, of 1021 Franklin Ave., South Point: for aggravated possession of drugs with a firearm specification, a third-degree felony; aggravated possession of drugs with a firearm specification, a third-degree felony; possession of drugs, a second-degree misdemeanor; and receiving stolen property, more than $5,000 but less than $100,000, a fourth-degree felony. Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies and task force members arrested Taylor in October, after an investigation uncovered drugs and an estimated 2,500 items believed to have been stolen from local department stores, homes and vehicles, Sexton said.

– Johnnie Taylor, 59, of 165 Township Road 1339, South Point: for receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony; aggravated possession of drugs, a second-degree felony; aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony; and possession of drugs, a second-degree misdemeanor. Taylor is a co-defendant in the same case as Henry Taylor.

– Cleo Junior Frazier, of 1820 Eastfield Dr., Columbus: for possession of cocaine, a fourth-degree felony, and possession of crack cocaine, a second-degree felony.

– Roger D. Burress, 41, of 764 County Road 3, Chesapeake: for aggravated trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony; and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

– Jon Wilson, 39, of 764 County Road 3, Chesapeake: for two counts aggravated trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony; two counts aggravated trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony; complicity to trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony; complicity to trafficking in drugs, a fourth-degree felony.

– Tommy J. Wilson, 41, of 764 County Road 3, Chesapeake: for aggravated trafficking in drugs, with a firearm specification, a second-degree felony; and unlawful transaction in weapons.

– Tina McMaster, 37, of 355 Township Road 303, Proctorville: for complicity to aggravated trafficking in drugs, with a firearm specification, a second-degree felony.

– Dennis McMaster, 27, of 355 Township Road 303, Proctorville: for aggravated trafficking in drugs, with a firearm specification, a second-degree felony.

– Dennis O. Viars, 41, of 76 Private Road 2954, Scottown: for felonious assault, a second-degree felony.

– Jason Rice, 18, P.O. Box 1158, Proctorville: for possession of criminal tools, a fifth-degree felony.

– Raymond E. Short, 37, of 636 Township Road 179, Ironton: for felonious sexual penetration, an aggravated first-degree felony, the alleged offense occurring in December 1991.

– Billy Joe Richendollar, 42, of 808 County Road 180, Ironton: for four counts of sexual battery, a third-degree felony, the alleged offenses occurring from 1995 to 1998; and disseminating matters harmful to juveniles, a fifth-degree felonies.

As filed, an indictment merely levies a charge against an individual and does not indicate guilt or innocence.