Bust uncovers area drug trafficking hub

Amber Gillenwater

August 4, 2014

GALLIPOLIS — Details surrounding a recent drug bust at a residence authorities say was a major hub of area illicit drug activity were released Monday by the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office.

In a press release, Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning said agents with the Ohio Organized Crime Commission, Gallia-Meigs Crimes Task Force, Metro Drug Task Force (MDENT) of Putnam County, W.Va., and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officials served search warrants with the assistance of Gallia County sheriff’s deputies at approximately 5:30 p.m. July 21 at a residence located on Ohio 588 in Green Township.

This case, according to Browning, targeted drug trafficking allegations that centered around a home located at 2466 Ohio 588 and involved a six-month investigation that uncovered a major drug supplier from Detroit and Columbus. The home was reportedly a major hub in drug trafficking from the Columbus area into southeast Ohio and West Virginia.

Arrested at the scene were Earnest J. Moore III, 38, of Columbus, and Brandon Q. McNair, 31, of Columbus, who have been charged with first-degree felony drug possession charges. Rasheed T. Latham, 26, of Detroit, was also arrested for a second-degree felony possession charge. Latham and Moore are also both facing charges of trafficking in drugs and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a second-degree felony. Latham reportedly had a felony probation warrant out for his arrest in Michigan, while Moore is reportedly on parole for similar charges in Franklin County, Ohio.

Task force agents also reportedly seized 62 grams of heroin, 9.8 grams of crack cocaine, and three grams of marijuana during the raid. A total of $1,468 cash was also seized during the bust as proceeds of drug trafficking.

Following their arrest late last month, the three suspects appeared in the Gallipolis Municipal Court for initial arraignment hearings, and according to complaints filed by Agent Frank Stewart of the Gallia-Meigs Crimes Task Force, the lengthy investigation into this case resulted in total monies spent in excess of $2,000 by the three agencies who were involved in the investigation — cash that was, according to the complaint, “spent at the residence in totality on the purchase of illegal substances by means of confidential informants, in a controlled environment, from multiple individuals selling illegal substances from within the residence.”

The local major crimes task force is a part of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Organized Crime Investigations Commission, and following the announcement of this major drug bust in Gallia County, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine commented on the case.

“Heroin addiction is a very serious problem in every corner of the state,” he said. “Law enforcement in both Gallia and Meigs counties are working hard every day to catch those who bring this poison into our communities.”

Browning said the resources brought in by the task force under the Ohio Organized Crime Commission have been “very helpful” in combating street drugs and criminal activity in Gallia County, but added that “the fight needs to continue to push these criminals out of our area.”

Further information on this case will be released as it is made available.