Drug roundup nets 12

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A dozen people were rounded up Monday night in a three-house drug raid in Ironton.

Authorities said the arrests stem from the alleged sale of illegal drugs obtained from pill mills in Florida.

Christopher Adkins, 23, James Fugate, 48, Loretta Thompson, 50, and Stacy Thompson, 32, all of 2430 S. Eighth St., were arrested at their residence and each charged with a felony count of trafficking in drugs.

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All are related to each other or are domestic partners.

In addition, Brett Howell, 28, of 608 N. Eighth St., was at the 2430 S. Eighth St., location and was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Adkins and Fugate were also charged with corrupting another (a juvenile) with drugs. Three children, ages 12 to 16 that were living in the home, were released to the custody of other family members. One of them was charged as a juvenile with drug infractions.

Also, Alan L. Combs, 29, Shirley J. Combs, 41, Ronald F. McSorley, all of 719 Vine St., were arrested at their home as were Paul D. Lewis, 27, and Emily A. Gipson, 24, of 2523 S. Third St. Two children under 10 years of age were taken from that home and released to the care of other relatives.

Finally, Danial Cox, 23 and Dana Cox, 25, of 2308 S. Ninth St., were arrested at their residence.

Dave Marcum, of the Lawrence County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force, said all of the houses are within a 2-3 block area and all of these cases are “somewhat intertwined.”

“We’ve had a number of complaints about drug activity occurring in the vicinity of where these arrests were made,” Marcum said. “We had warrants for all of them but Emily, Paul and Brett. They were all just there or doing things they should not have been doing.”

Marcum said oxycodone was the main drug being offered for sale along with adderol and hydrocodone.

Authorities contend some of those arrested were actually going to Florida, others were selling or buying the drugs once the goods were brought back to this area.

“This has become a very big problem,” Ironton Police Detective, Capt. Chris Bowman said. “We started seeing people going down there about a year ago. There are apparently a large number of pain clinics (in Florida). I was told one county in Florida has more than 290 — in one county.”

All of the adults arrested are scheduled to appear for arraignment Thursday in Ironton Municipal Court.

The arrests were the result of a months-long investigation by the drug task force, which is comprised of the Ironton Police Department, Coal Grove Police Department, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office.