EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – Several drug arrests were made Wednesday morning, according to officials.
Heavy police presence was spotted in multiple Evansville neighborhoods. Central dispatch tells us city police and county deputies have been working with federal agents in the area.
Our Eyewitness News team was on location at three scenes.
The first scene took place near Covert and Kentucky Avenue. The second situation was in the 2000 block of Sweetser near Weinbach, and the last was in the 400 block of Willow near Walnut.
The DEA tells us that this is a large-scale investigation that has been going on for several months. We’re told the arrests made were primarily meth and cocaine dealers.
According to court documents, John Byers, Lance Foster, Octavia Finott, Stacey Cabell, Taran Johnson, William Bacon, Thomas Vest and James Musgrave were named as defendants in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in southern Indiana. The court documents named Byers as the leader and supervisor of the conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine.
Police say members of the conspiracy used various locations to store methamphetamine and currency generated from sales. Court documents say Foster attempted to possess with the intent to distribute approximately 30 pounds of methamphetamine in Evansville. It also said Finott communicated via cell phone with Byers about the seizure of approximately 30 pounds of methamphetamine from her residence in Evansville.
Byers was also named as the leader and supervisor of a conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine in southern Indiana. Officials also named Robert E. Brown, Stacey Cabell, Tony Johnson, Tyron Northington and Antwan Henry as defendants.
In addition to the charges already listed, William Bacon, Thomas Vest and Tony Johnson were also charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Octavia Finott, Robert E. Brown and Tyron Northington are scheduled to have detention hearings sometime next week.
11 firearms were seized by the DEA during the investigation according to Michael Gannon, Assistant Special Agent In-Charge with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Altogether 12 people were indicted and seven were arrested. The trial date for these indictments is set for September 9.
“Methamphetamine has been a very big problem here,” agent Gannon explained. “I know we have issues with fentanyl and that’s an epidemic of itself but meth has never gone away. It’s continuously been a problem especially here in southern Indiana.”
Evansville Police and the DEA also served a judicially signed federal search warrant in the 1500 block of Kentucky Avenue on Wednesday. During the search, detectives say they located 11.2 pounds of dried plant like material that tested positive for THC, 26.7 grams of cocaine, 80 blue pills identified as oxycodone hydrochloride 30mg and a loaded handgun as well as a digital scale and a large quantity of U.S. money.
Police say the owner of the home, Harry Waddell, was charged with dealing cocaine, dealing narcotics (Schedule I, II), dealing marijuana and possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. Waddell was transported to the Vanderburgh County Confinement Center for these charges.
“You have significant investigations and you have people who have violent criminal histories lengthy criminal histories and that’s the majority of people that were in this investigation,” agent Gannon stated. “We’re trying to make our communities a safer place and to get people off the street. When you’re dealing drugs, you’re destroying people’s families.”
Also on June 29, members of the DEA Evansville Resident Office, the Indiana State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Evansville-Vanderburgh County Drug Task Force executed a judicially authorized federal search warrant for a residence in the 2000 block of Sweester Avenue in Evansville. Prior to executing the search warrant, police say Ramariyon R. Mathis repeatedly said he would break the jaw of one of the officers. Ramariyon was placed in the back of a marked EPD unit due to his behavior.
During a search of the home, law enforcement say they found the following:
- A loaded Springfield brand handgun
- A loaded semi-automatic Springfield brand handgun
- A glock brand 10mm handgun with an extended magazine
- Ammunition and magazines
- Approximately 3,097.8 grams of a substance that had a presumptive field test for THC
- An unopened bag marked “White Truffle” cannabis flower 3.5 grams
- A plastic Juicy brand marijuana roller with a green plant like substance that had a presumptive field test for THC.
Police say during the search, Ramariyon attempted to slip from his restraints and repeatedly attempted to bite a detective while in the patrol car.
Rodriquez Mathis told police that everything inside of the house belonged to him, but later acknowledged that one of the firearms inside of the residence belonged to Ramariyon and that Ramariyon smoked marijuana. Ramariyon was charged with battery against a public safety official, intimidation, dealing marijuana and resisting law enforcement. Rodriquez was charged with dealing marijuana and maintaining a common nuisance.