Details were recently released about the Clay County Sheriff's Department participation in an ongoing federal joint-investigation that has led to recent indictments of two Terre Haute residents for methamphetamine trafficking.
"Some of the drugs involved with the August (2008) drug raid in Clay County led to Vigo County and suspects even deeper into the drug world," Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times. "We know that people in other counties are supplying drugs to our community."
In January, Timothy M. Morrison, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, indicted Gary L. Herman, Jr., 38, and Melissa D. Swayze, 31, as alleged methamphetamine distributors due to information and evidence obtained during the execution of a federal search warrant in their Terre Haute residence Dec. 11, 2008
The Evansville office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Vigo County Drug Task Force and the Indiana State Police directed the investigation and other participating law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the United States Marshal Service and many other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
According to Assistant U. S. Attorney Bradley A. Blackington, who is prosecuting the case for the government, the defendants, if convicted, each face a potential maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Initial hearings are scheduled to take place before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Terre Haute per the court calendar.
According to the Department of Justice, the indictments are only allegations, and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at trial or by guilty plea.
Heaton said it is valuable to maintain good working relationships throughout all levels of law enforcement agencies.
"This is how drug investigations are supposed to work," Heaton said. "Some of our investigations turn into federal cases. Some don't. Federal authorities have more resources and they can do so much more. But as with all investigations, you start small and work your way up until you are able to cut off the main source."