Portsmouth Police Chief Charles Horner said there were about 10 people, including three from the Columbus area, inside the apartment when officers arrived.
"There's at least four or five males, probably another five or six females inside," Narcotics Agent Todd Bryant said. "The male subject who resides here, Richard Collins, he's on parole."
Bryant said two members of the Ohio Adult Parole Authority went to the apartment and knocked on the door.
"He (Collins) was supposed to report (to the parole authority) today, and he failed to report. We could hear him running around, not answering the door, obviously, at which time we announced, 'police department," he said. "They were inside running around like cockroaches if you will."
Officers broke down the door and gained entry.
"Upon entering, we found one subject in the bathroom, crack floating in the toilet, where they had already flushed it," Bryant said. "It was crack cocaine. That is what we had purchased out of here to obtain the search warrant."
An attempt was made by one of the suspects to flush crack cocaine down a toilet, and while some went down, officers were able to fish some of it out before.
"We've already recovered crack from the toilet," Horner said. "We don't know if we got it all or if they were able to flush some of it."
That's when Portsmouth City Sewer Department workers were called in to uncover a manhole, and City Sewer Department workers, along with Bryant, used a net to fish out debris, including human waste, but also including more crack cocaine.
Bryant said officers had received information there were out-of-town drug dealers in the apartment, and they made a purchase Tuesday. Officers had planned to make the bust then, but received word they had reordered more drugs from Columbus, so they put the bust off until Wednesday.
Arrested in the apartment were Eric C.L. Burley, 23, of 1017 Summit St., Columbus, who is charged with felony two possession of crack cocaine, felony two trafficking in crack cocaine and felony three tampering with evidence, Donpeire Johnson, 23, of 2665 Sunbury Court, Columbus, and Richard C. "Ricky" Collins, 46, of 709 Lincoln St. Apt. 1, on a parole violation. Jason Burgess, known as "Bubbalou," also was arrested on a parole violation.
While the arrests were being made, narcotics officer Steve Timberlake received a call from someone named Shari, wanting to make a buy. It then was arranged for a black Honda to meet them on a parking lot off of Gallia Street, and within minutes, the car arrived.
"The black Honda pulled up. They sat here on the lot. I approached them, and Shari Guthman was very nervous and wouldn't hand me her purse. She said she didn't have an I.D.," Bryant said. "I told her to hand me the purse and she started moving it around, and the chief (Horner) had to reach in from the other side and grab it. Turns out, what she's got in there is a loaded syringe, a tie-off and a spoon, which is what you call a kit for shooting up."
In Guthman's glove compartment, Bryant found an Ibuprofen bottle of urine, which Bryant said usually belongs to someone else and is used to pass drug tests.
Bryant said two of the occupants, Shari L. Guthman, 33, of 1328 Normandy Drive, and Joshua Hobbs, 26, of 8504 Big Bear Creek Road, Lucasville, had outstanding warrants.
Guthman faces three charges of possessing drug abuse instruments and two counts of failure to appear-issuance of a warrant.
Also in the car was Candy M. Collett, 25, of 2036 North Bend Ave., West Portsmouth, who is charged with conspiracy to plan with others and trafficking in drugs included in Schedule I or II.
"This was a city effort," Horner said. "We've got the fire department. We've got the police department, and we've got the city sewer department. We've got everybody involved. This was a team effort."
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.