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Thursday, May 5, 2016

First week of March busy one for drug arrests

Friday, March 10, 2006

Six drug related arrests involving warrants, foot pursuits, undercover investigations, domestic disputes and traffic stops have kept local law enforcement agencies busy the first week of March.

"A lot of crime revolves around drugs," Brazil City Police Chief Mark Loudermilk said Wednesday morning. "We always have drug arrests."

Loudermilk said officers might pull over a vehicle for a minor traffic offense and end up in a drug investigation.

"They (drug arrests) take a tremendous amount of officers' time to deal with because of the overlapping involvement with other types of crimes," he said. "It's a constant thing for law enforcement."

The Brazil City Police Department and the Clay County Sheriff's Department worked together on many of the arrests.

- March 1 -- CCSD Sgt. Rob Gambil said a tip from local pharmacy employees spurred an investigation involving the use of a plain-clothes officer at a local retailer to watch Matthew C. Cooprider, 28, and Craig A. Ellinger, 33, both of West Terre Haute, while shopping for over-the-counter cold medications.

"This is one of the times where the drug registry worked," Gambil said. "The two men had attempted to purchase a large quantity of pseudoephedrine at one local pharmacy and failed, and were moving to the next one when the tip came in. Because of that tip we were able to get a plain clothes officer on the scene quickly."

The suspects were pulled over after leaving the retailer in a mini-van. A partially smoked marijuana cigarette was found in the ashtray of the vehicle during an authorized search. A glass pipe, which tested positive for methamphetamine, along with five new pairs of women's underwear was found in Cooprider's possession.

Craig Allen Ellinger was arrested on a preliminary charge of Possession of Marijuana/Hashish and booked without incident.

Pleading not guilty in Clay Circuit Court, Ellinger's jury trial is scheduled for Aug. 7.

Arrested on the preliminary charges of Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Paraphernalia, Matthew Curtis Cooprider received an additional charge of Conversion/Shoplifting during the booking process at the Clay County Justice Center. When Cooprider was found wearing the sixth pair of the women's underwear, he admitted stealing the items to officers.

Judge Blaine Akers ordered the Hamilton Center to conduct a psychiatric and alcohol evaluation for purpose of treatment and counsel for Cooprider when he appeared in Clay Superior Court.

Deputies Josh Clarke, Brison Swearingen and Reserve Deputy Chris Robinson also assisted in the investigation.

- March 2 -- While patrolling in a local high crime area, officers from the Clay County Sheriff's and the Brazil City Police departments became involved in a foot pursuit and struggle while arresting Joshua Nathan Wheeler, 25.

In the area of Leavitt and Central streets around 1 a.m., Deputy Josh Clarke stopped two suspicious male pedestrians wearing dark clothing and carrying flashlights. When Deputy Jerry Siddons and Center Point Town Marshal Jeff McCullough arrived to provide assistance in separating the two men for questioning and performing routine pat downs, Wheeler ran away.

Officers, including Police Chief Mark Loudermilk and Patrolman Clint McQueen, chased Wheeler three blocks before catching up with him.

Unwilling to be taken into custody, Wheeler began yelling obscenities and struggling with officers at the scene. Items known to be in his possession before the chase were now no longer on Wheeler during a search of his clothing. He admitted to throwing things away while running, but Clarke said a search of the pursuit area was unable to locate anything.

As Wheeler was placed in the patrol car he tried to head-butt Chief Loudermilk. This aggressive behavior led officers to call for a transport van to take Wheeler to the Clay County Justice Center.

Joshua Nathan Wheeler was arrested on preliminary charges of Dealing Methamphetamine, Resisting law enforcement, Reckless Possession of Paraphernalia and Possession of Methamphetamine within a 1,000 feet of a government housing facility.

Appearing in Clay Superior Court, Wheeler pled not guilty to the charges and a jury trial was scheduled for Jun 19. Wheeler remains in jail on a $25,000 bond with no 10 percent allowed.

- March 5 -- While answering a domestic complaint, Sgt. Dan Best arrested Eric Jason Smith, 36, for an initial preliminary charge of Domestic battery and then added charges of Possession of methamphetamine, Possession of marijuana/hashish and Reckless possession of paraphernalia because of his behavior.

Sgt. Best noticed Smith acting suspicious while moving around different areas of the location of the incident. During an authorized search, the officer located drugs and paraphernalia hidden in furniture which the home owner denied ownership.

Arrested and taken to the Clay County Justice Center without incident, Smith requested counsel during his appearance in Clay Circuit, but one was not appointed at the time. A not guilty plea was entered by the court on his behalf.

- March 7 -- Shortly before 11 p.m., Brazil City patrolmen Clint McQueen and Josh Krause investigated a domestic complaint at a residence where there was a heavy smell of marijuana in the air. A pat down of Mark Anthony Brown Sr. located a substance which field tested positive for marijuana.

With the preliminary charge of Possession of marijuana/ hashish, Brown, 20, was taken to the Clay County Justice Center without incident. Deputy Jerry Siddons assisted in the investigation.

Around 11:30 p.m., Timothy James Francis, 23, was taken into custody on a Warrant for failing to appear in court for various charges including Possession of methamphetamine, Possession of paraphernalia and Driving while suspended.

Information about Brown and Francis' court appearances were not available as of press time.

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