By Shelley Grieshop
Fifteen area residents were arrested for felony drug charges Friday night following a surprise drug raid in Auglaize and Mercer counties by the Grand Lake Drug Task Force.
Thirty-four drug-related charges, ranging from five counts of cocaine trafficking to a single count of drug possession, were handed out as sheriff's deputies, police officers and a trio of K-9 units worked eight hours rounding up suspects, Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said.
"We're very happy with the results," Solomon said. "We warned other (drug offenders) after the last bust in Mercer County that we'd be coming back to townships, villages and cities near you, and we did."
All 15 suspects, arrested through grand jury indictments last week, were scheduled to appear in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court in Wapakoneta this morning. Of those arrested five were St. Marys residents including a mother and son, Carolyn Cornett, 49, and Adam Cornett, 24. Carolyn Cornett was charged with three counts of drug trafficking (type of drug not listed); her son faces four counts of drug trafficking and a single count of heroin possession.
Other St. Marys residents arrested were: Heather Clayton, 18, one count of drug possession (type of drug not listed); Matthew Kelly, 31, three counts trafficking in marijuana; and Wayne Storer, possession of drug paraphernalia. The suspects' full addresses were not available at press time.
Others arrested as a result of a six-month investigation were from Wapakoneta (5), Cridersville (4), and Lima (1).
"All of those people who were selling drugs, were selling it right here in our area," Solomon added.
Task Force officers say more arrests will follow as their investigation continues.
Two of the suspects charged were not on the Task Force's list Friday evening, but just happened to be in possession of drugs and/or drug paraphernalia at one of the locations raided. The Task Force made arrests in St. Marys, Celina, Cridersville and Wapakoneta, he said.
Taking crack and heroin dealers off the street is a good feeling, Solomon said. But the arrests involving the sale of drugs to young people makes Solomon the happiest.
"What can most young kids afford? Marijuana. So those suckers are going down, too," Solomon said.
The amount of drugs confiscated Friday night is still being identified and processed. The only weapons found were small, such as pocketknives, he added. None of the suspects resisted arrest.
"Most were pretty surprised when we arrived," he said.
Officers involved in Friday's drug raid included about a dozen members of the Task Force, as well as police chiefs or other officers from just about every village in the two-county area.
"A lot of credit has to go to the (police) chiefs for allowing us extra officers for this," Solomon said. "When they let us use their manpower, they take a hit on their budgets."
The Grand Lake Drug Task Force includes members of the Auglaize and Mercer County Sheriff's offices and approximately one officer from every other law enforcement agency in both counties.