OHIO VALLEY — Local police arrested 17 people over the weekend and into early Tuesday morning in connection with supposed drug crimes ranging from various locations throughout Gallia and Meigs counties.
The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission’s Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia-Meigs secured 43 drug indictments with a total of 135 counts of illegal drug activities within Meigs and Gallia counties at the most recent grand jury sessions.
Operations started last Friday evening when task force agents secured a search warrant at 539 Broadway St. in Middleport at the residence of Nicholas Haning. Agents, along with assistance from the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and the Middleport Police Department, made entry at the residence where Haning was arrested on an indictment for drug trafficking. After completing a search of the residence, agents seized drugs and drug paraphernalia. Haning was incarcerated in the Middleport Jail.
On Monday, a warrant round-up was conducted by the task force with the help of local departments that started at 7 a.m. and concluded at midnight. Officers arrested 17 individuals in the two counties stemming from long-term drug investigations.
During the warrant round-up, a search warrant was obtained for Robert William Christopher Qualls’ residence located at 204 Spring Ave. in Pomeroy. The Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the Middleport Police Department and task force agents, made entry into the residence and arrested Sarah Blankenship, Trenton Qualls and Dwayne Madison. After completing a search of the residence, agents seized drugs and drug paraphernalia. Robert William Christopher Qualls was arrested in Middleport shortly after the warrant was executed. The Pomeroy Police Department assisted with traffic control and the transporting of those arrested.
In a separate incident at 205 Spring Ave., the Ohio Adult Parole Authority, with the assistance of the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and task force, conducted a probation search at the residence of Melvin Hayes. Hayes was arrested on an indictment stemming from alleged drug activity.
The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, along with task force agents, did a consent search at the residence of Phillip Snapp at 194 Watts Road. After completing the search, agents seized 20 marijuana plants growing on the property. A case will be completed by agents and submitted to the Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office for charges.
The following individuals were arrested during the warrant round up: Jason Milliron, 37, of Middleport; Brad Davenport, 36, of Middleport; Ezra Rathburn, 21, of Rutland; Lorena Ackerman, 46, of Pomeroy; Justin Allen, 31, of Syracuse; Brian Cleland, 41, of Rutland; Lance Herman, 52, of Middleport; Melvin Hayes, 38, of Pomeroy; Dwayne Madison, 35, of Pomeroy; Sarah Blankenship, 31, of Pomeroy; Robert William Christopher Qualls, 37, of Pomeroy; Nicholas Haning, 38, of Middleport; Trenton Qualls, 36, of Middleport; Greg Jones, 39, of Gallipolis; Sean Smith, 37, of Gallipolis; Linda Smith, 34, of Bidwell; and Courtney Miller, 25, of Bidwell.
According to Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning, police are on the lookout for more people of interest tied to these crimes and asks the public to contact the Gallia sheriff’s tip line at 740-446-6555. Tips can be left for the Meigs Sheriff’s Office on its website, www.meigssheriff.org.
The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commissions Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia-Meigs Counties was formed in September 2013 and consists of the Gallia and Meigs County Sheriff’s Offices and the Gallipolis and Middleport Police Departments and the Meigs and Gallia County Prosecutor Offices. The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission is part of the Ohio Attorney General Office.