GALLIA COUNTY — The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission Major Crimes Task Force of Gallia-Meigs Counties apprehended three suspects early Tuesday morning after enacting search warrants.
Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning told reporters Tuesday that the task force, along with assistance from Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office tactical team “initiated search warrants at two residences in Gallia County. Both properties were serving as a drug hub and (drugs) were being circulated to the local communities.”
Items seized included crack cocaine, pills and firearms, along with an as yet to be disclosed amount of cash.
Robert “Bobby” Lee Saunders, 63, of Gallipolis, was arrested for an alleged outstanding warrant and parole violation. Anthony Jones, 30, of Columbus, was arrested for alleged possession of drugs. Kevin Ankum, 35, of Springfield, Ohio, was arrested for allegedly possessing a weapon under disability.
“We get a lot of feedback and calls from our drug tip line. Neighbors, concerned people and the community and (others) contact us. We had a tip on a group that was operating in Gallia County,” Browning said. “Our drug task force was able to develop enough probable cause to get two separate search warrants signed. We executed one warrant around 5:30 a.m. and the second was around 7 a.m. The first location was on Porter Road in Springfield Township and the second was on Fairfield Church Road in Green Township.”
Authorities apprehended Ankum and Jones at Porter Road. According to information obtained from the sheriff’s office, Saunders was apprehended on Bob McCormick Road.
“One of the things that we wanted to make the public aware was, in at least one of these properties, we (law enforcement) had prior complaints of drug trafficking and we are going to be consulting with (Gallia County Prosecutor’s Office) about the possibility of filing a civil forfeiture on that property,” Browning said. “It would be up to the courts to determine what would happen with that. However, it is our understanding that on the Green Township property, we’ve been there a couple of other times due to the same type of activity. We continually have the same reports of drug activity in and out of the residence. We feel because of Mr. Saunders’ past activity with the court system that we may be able get the court to see the (court decision favorably) our way as far as that property so we can give the citizens in that area some relief. It’s not a sure thing, but it is something we can ask the prosecutor to consider.”
No officers or suspects were harmed during the execution of the warrants.
The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission was created in 1986 and serves to assist local law enforcement groups in fighting organized crime efforts. It consists of members of the law enforcement community and is lead by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
With the assistance of Health Recovery Services, the sheriff’s office has been placing yellow signs in yards to persuade individuals to discourage criminal drug activity and contact their tip line at (740) 446-6555 if suspected violations are occurring.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.