Teamwork stops meth trafficking site

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It was not a social call when officers from the Edgar County Sheriff’s Department and the Paris Police Department paid a surprise visit to 1805 S. Main, Paris, March 24.

Armed with a search warrant officers put an end to one location that was selling crystal methamphetamine. Owen D. Hawkins, 36, and Dawn M. Ordiway, 34, residents of the home were arrested and are facing multiple Class X felony charges alleging trafficking in methamphetamine. Robert Lovell, 21, Chrisman, was also arrested on a methamphetamine charge. More information about the exact nature of the charges and bond will appear in the March 30 issue of The Prairie Press.

Two other people, Matthew T. Hamrick, 18, Oakland, and Jody Frayser, 38, Robinson, were present and detained on outstanding warrants but were not charged with any methamphetamine offenses stemming from the raid.

“We had to force entry,” said Deputy Dee Burgin. “The selling operation was in the basement.”

Burgin said all five adults and two juveniles were in the basement. The juveniles were placed into the care of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

“They were children that shouldn’t have been there,” said Sheriff Jeff Wood.

When police entered the space they spotted several items that appeared to be semi-automatic handguns within easy reach of those arrested. The guns were BB pistols and Burgin said it was fortunate none of those present appeared to reach for the highly realistic looking pistols.

“One looked like the Colt 45 I carry,” said Wood. “It even said Colt on the side.”

“Everybody obeyed our commands and we were able to secure the scene without incident,” added Burgin.

Police recovered several digital scales, baggies, more than 200 grams of crystal methamphetamine and some cash – all indicative of a trafficking operation. Officers confirmed no methamphetamine was being made at the location.

Also found were syringes loaded with liquid methamphetamine for personal use.

“The crystals have to be melted down in a spoon, and they fill several syringes at a time for use,” said Wood. “They were insulin type syringes and they were found in a makeup case.”

Police also seized the cell phones of all five people arrested. Burgin said once a search warrant is secured police will go through all of the phones to identify everyone the arrested people had as contacts and look for a pattern of calls likely to expand the scope of the investigation.

This case moved rather quickly, but others can drag on for months as law enforcement gathers enough evidence to secure a warrant.

Burgin took an anonymous tip from a caller to the jail regarding an unusually large amount of traffic in an out of 1805 S. Main and immediately reached out to Wood and a colleague on the Paris Police Department. Officers pooled resources and set up surveillance on the property. When the search warrant was served at 8:13 p.m. Sunday, March 24, a total of nine officers from the sheriff’s department and the police department participated in the raid.

“The Paris Police Department was with us every step of the way,” said Burgin. ‘Neither agency has enough staff. When one opens a case, the other gets involved.”

Wood agreed, noting this was neither a sheriff’s department nor a police department operation.

“It’s just local law enforcement working to protect the community,” said Wood.

The raid and arrest March 24 is the not the end of the matter. Burgin said the police department, the sheriff’s department and DCFS are continuing the investigation at the local level, and Tuesday, March 26, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) expressed interest because of the interstate trafficking angle.

People with information about clandestine drug use or observations of suspicious activities are encouraged to call.