By Frank Lewis
Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware and Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini believe they have gone a long way toward dismantling a heroin trafficking ring between Dayton, Ohio and Portsmouth, with the arrest of seven people, and a warrant issued for an eighth person.
During an approximate three month investigation from November 2013 through January 2014, the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force executed two search warrants in Portsmouth and seized approximately sixty-five grams of heroin, 24 grams of Fentanyl, and over $3,500 cash. The estimated street value of the drugs seized was over $13,000.
“This is one of those long term investigations that we’ve been conducting to disrupt that flow of heroin from Dayton to Portsmouth,” Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware said. “As you can see, by the number of arrests, that we have taken out people on both ends of the supply chain.”
Donini agreed with Ware that getting people on both ends causes a major problem for a drug ring.
“It cuts out supply and demand,” Donini said. “You’re not only hitting the street dealer level, you’re hitting a major supply level, and any time you can take that out it’s a win-win situation.”
After the case was presented to a Scioto County grand jury by the task force and the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office, the grand jury voted to indict the following eight people for trafficking in drugs, a felony of the first degree, and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, also a felony of the first degree: 51 year old Delores M. Hoag of 6th Street, Portsmouth; 22 year old Ronald J. Hoag of 6th Street, Portsmouth; 27 year old Amanda B. Price of 6th Street, Portsmouth; 38 year old Melissa A. Stiltner of Thomas Avenue, Portsmouth, 25 year old Dawnetta A. Cargle of Niagra Avenue, Dayton, Ohio; 25 year old Curtis O. Jackson of Germantown Street, Dayton; 24 year old Malcom D. Owens of Indian Run Drive, Dayton and 27 year old Brandi A. Bellfo of Five Oaks Road in Dayton.
All individuals, excluding Brandi Bellfo and Dawnetta Cargle, have been arraigned in Scioto County Common Pleas Court and are awaiting trial.
Bellfo currently has a warrant on indictment for her arrest, while Cargle is currently incarcerated in the Montgomery County, Ohio jail and facing additional criminal charges.
“Obviously we’re still looking for one and anybody with information on that individual (Bellfo) is asked to call their local law enforcement agency so we can get them into custody,” Ware said.
Both Ware and Donini took the opportunity to thank the public for information and asked the public to continue to help with any investigation.
“It’s important that the public continue to feed us tips and information,” Ware said. “It’s also important for them to be patient and understand that these investigations don’t happen overnight. It’s long term and if we’re going to be successful in prosecution, we want to collect as much evidence and intelligence on these folks as we can.”
Donini also said this type of shutdown speaks volumes about the type of officer every department in this area has out on the street.
“The guy on the street is most important to us because a lot of times they receive the first information from the arrest they make,” Donini said. “From the victims of crimes that they deal with to witnesses and suspects. They receive, a lot of times, the first information that is supplied to our Drug Task Force. They work hand in hand with our Drug Task Force. We all have a common goal - to take out the dealers. There’s no one we’re afraid to go after. If anybody thinks that, they’re wrong. We go after them all.”
Anyone having information on the whereabouts of Bellfo, or general drug information, can contact the task force tip line at 740- 354-5656, the Portsmouth Police Dept. at 740-353-4101, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office at 740-354-7566, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.All information will be kept confidential and anonymous.
be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.