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Task force helps in conviction of drug trafficker

Monday, November 19, 2007

The United States Federal Government has convicted the leader of a well-known Indianapolis drug trafficking organization because of the Clay County Drug Task Force participation in a nine-month investigation.

On Thursday, Gregory J. Vanes, 29, Indianapolis, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 360 months imprisonment by US District Judge Larry J. McKinney.

Vanes received methamphetamine from a Mexican methamphetamine trafficking organization, which smuggled approximately 20 pounds of the drug across the border in McAllen, Texas, and California and then to Indianapolis during a period from May 2005-January 2006.

Judge McKinney also imposed a five-year supervised release that will begin upon Vanes' release from federal imprisonment. During the period of his supervised release, law enforcement officials will subject Vanes to random searches of his person, vehicle and residence.

Clay County Chief Deputy Rob Gambill confirmed the department's involvement with the investigation that also included members of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), (Indianapolis) Metro Drug Task Force, Indianapolis Police, Beech Grove Police, Marion County Sheriff's and the Vigo County Sheriff's departments.

"There has been a great working relationship for several years between the DEA, the other agencies and our department. Whenever we have needed their assistance, they have been right here," Gambill said about the investigation and arrest of 40 individuals involved in the trafficking of methamphetamine along the Interstate-70 corridor. "These cases show just how people are willing to risk everything when they get involved with methamphetamine."

Local law enforcement officers performed surveillance and executed search warrants to provide information and evidence to authorities about some major players in the Clay County area to help build cases against individuals involved in drugs from the Indianapolis area.

On Monday, Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton confirmed that a portion of the drug seizure money collected during this investigation would come back to the county to help aid the department's ability to perform more drug investigations.

Unable to comment further about details regarding pending federal cases, Gambill offered concerned local residents the following solace, "Methamphetamine has a tight grip in our county, but we're working to take it back."

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