Information provided by a concerned parent led to two drug arrests and the detainment and questioning of two juveniles earlier this week. Officials have high expectations the ongoing active drug investigation will benefit other investigations.
"Information discovered during this case could be used to help present and future investigations," Brazil City Police Department Det. Clint McQueen told The Brazil Times Friday.
McQueen said the Clay County Prosecutor's Office was able to obtain a search warrant Tuesday for an undisclosed residence in the area of State Road 59 and Short Street after an unidentified parent provided officials with text messages from their juvenile child's cell phone. The messages allegedly contained information about drug activity at the residence.
However, members of the BCPD and Clay County Sheriff's Department waited until Wednesday to serve it.
Sometime between 2:30-3 a.m., K-9 Handler/Patrolman Kenny Hill, K-9 Officer Anya and patrolmen Jeremy Mace, Sgt. Dennis Archer and Det. Clint McQueen with the assistance of K-9 Handler/Deputy Josh Clarke, K-9 Officer Forrest and Deputy Brad Hardey searched the residence for Christopher Ruff's cell phone and any illegal drugs or narcotics.
Four individuals -- Ruff, 35, Ricky J. Anello, 17, (both of Brazil) and two unidentified juveniles -- were detained to protect the integrity of the crime scene while officers searched the home.
Although details are limited about what officers seized, McQueen said more than one illegal substance was discovered.
According to the prosecutor's office, although Anello is under age, he has been previously waived to adult court in a separate unrelated juvenile court case. Because of this prior determination, Anello can be charged as adult in any future criminal cases.
After a probable cause statement was filed against Anello, he was formally charged with two class A misdemeanor charges of dealing marijuana and two D felony charges, including one for possession of a controlled substance and one for legend drug deception.
Both Ruff and Anello were expected to appear in court Friday (per court calendar) for further court proceedings.
McQueen said the two juveniles were questioned in the presence of the parents about the case. One juvenile was issued a citation for possession of marijuana, which McQueen said would be turned over to the prosecutor's office for review by the juvenile court.
Both juveniles were later released into the custody of their parents.
"The past two weeks has been very busy for our officers and those of the Clay County Sheriff's Department. We have a great interdepartmental relationship," McQueen said about the recent number of drug related arrests. "These types of quick arrests often lead to longer investigations with other drug task forces and have the future potential, at some point, to bring down the big fish. Our guys are out there -- going the whole nine yards -- by taking a proactive stance in the fight against drugs in our community."
McQueen said law enforcement officers on the night shifts are actively looking for suspects selling drugs, using the K-9 units while making traffic stops on suspicious vehicles and following up and investigating leads.
"These officers are doing impressive work. I've seen the casework, and it's solid," McQueen said. "This case started with a single concerned parent. But we need all the information we can get from the public."