Drug sting catches 24 suspects

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It’s been a busy three months.

Lawrence County authorities have wrapped up a three-month investigation into alleged drug activity by securing indictments against 21 people. But in the process of arresting those people, police found four others also suspected of drug peddling. Of those 25 people, 24 have been apprehended; only one adult and an unnamed juvenile remain at large and authorities are encouraging anyone with information as to their whereabouts to call and provide it to law enforcement.

Authorities said some of those 25 are involved in the Florida prescription drug pipeline.

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“That’s probably our number one problem right now,” Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Detective Aaron Bollinger said.

“Back in 2001, 2002, up to 2006 and 07, crack was the biggest problem we had,” Lawrence County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force Detective David Marcum said. “That seemed like the drug of choice for addicts in our county. Since 07, it seems like everyone is after pain pills.”

During the investigation six residences were searched and more than 1,000 oxycodone and xanax pills were seized, along with crack cocaine and money.

Authorities now seek Raymond E. Brown, 51, of 713 Mill St., Ironton.

Tuesday night authorities arrested, Didrie C. Riffe-Stapleton, 36, of 111 ½ Lincoln St., Coal Grove; Brandon L. Justice, 23, of 707 Mastin Ave., Ironton; and David L. McKee, 26, of 704 S. Seventh St., Ironton. All three remain in the Lawrence County Jail awaiting arraignment.

Several of those arrested have already been arraigned in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court: Larry Blankenship, 30, of 46 Private Drive 9992, South Point; Robert Esque Jr., 21, of 52 Township Road 338, Ironton; Crystal Waulk, 28, of 1358 County Road 15, South Point; Frank Zeigler, 48, of 1216 S. Fifth St., Ironton; Gladys Lewis, 64, of 617 Vernon St., Ironton; Martin Stapleton, 51, of 617 Vernon St., Ironton; Linda Rosebrough 59, 2506 S. Fourth St., Ironton; and Kenneth Waulk, 32, of 2352 County Road 55, Ironton.

Others yet to be arraigned are: Michael L. Bailey, 23, of 2045 County Road 181, Ironton; Sarah K. Brace, 20, also of 2045 County Road 181, Ironton; Devon B. Murrell, 22, of 414 Vine St., Ironton; George Clutters, 53, of 2426 S. Fifth St., Ironton; Adam K. Ross, 23, of 2908 County Road 181, Ironton; Juandell D. Mitchell, 22, of 632 Koebel Ave., Columbus; Diane L. Waddell, 57, of 1625 Fourth St., Ironton; Madison K. Kelly, 21, of 55 Township Road 249W, Ironton; Paul D. Sisler, 48, of 2065 County Road 22, Ironton; Robert Watkins, 23, 4647 County Road 52, Ironton; Carlton Davis, 38, of 302 Washington St., Coal Grove; Brittany N. Lyons, 20, 105 Rowe St., Coal Grove; and Amanda L. Blake, 29, 809 Ninth St., Ironton.

Bollinger said other arrests may follow.

Anyone with information about the people still at large are encouraged to call either the sheriff’s office at 532-3525 or the Lawrence County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force hotline at 534-5830.

Calls to the hotline may be made anonymously.

People who live outside Lawrence County may call a law enforcement agency in their jurisdiction and give information.