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3 arrested in Ironton drug bust

Three people were arrested Thursday following a pill trafficking investigation by the Ironton Police Department’s drug and special response team.

The bust was made at about 10:30 a.m. on Ironton Hills Drive.

Arrested were Jason Burton, 31, and Regina Burton, 20, both of 2213 S. Sixth St., Ironton, and Natasha Moore, 28, of New Boston.

Detective Joe Ross said the team had been investigating the group for several weeks after receiving complaints from residents about frequent stop-and-go traffic in their neighborhoods.

During the arrests, Ross said about 200 oxycodone pills were seized, in addition to about 100 more pills over the course of the investigation, at a street value of about $12,000. There was also a young child in the vehicle at the time of the arrests.

About 17 officers and investigators were on scene for the bust including the Ironton Drug and Special Response Team, the Lawrence County Drug and Major Crimes Task Force, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, the Portsmouth FBI bureau and the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force.

“It’s a good bust to have that many agencies working together,” Detective Mitch Crum said.

Jason Burton was charged with two first- and one third-degree count of trafficking in drugs. Regina Burton was charged with two first- and one third-degree count of complicity to trafficking in drugs. Moore was charged with a third-degree count of complicity to trafficking in drugs.

The suspects are expected to be arraigned in Ironton Municipal Court on Monday.

“It is really satisfying to get this big of a bust and to get that many pills off the street,” Ross said. “And this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The Ironton Police Department has been assembling and raising money for its SRT for about two years and asked the City of Ironton for a $10,000 start-up earlier this year. Part of that money came through in April.

“These arrests are a direct result of our task force and funding,” SRT member Jamie “Ice Man” Pruitt said.

Pruitt also said this was the largest bust the department has had since its inception.

Members of the SRT must have SWAT training and certification, which includes firearms training and continuing education each month.

Grants and money that has been donated by local businesses, as well as the City of Ironton, goes toward the purchase of special equipment and funds for controlled drug buys.