CLAY CITY -- Three Clay County men were taken into custody Saturday evening amid numerous allegations of drug activity and possession of illegal substances.
According to the Clay County Sheriff Department, K-9 Handler Sgt. Josh Clarke and K-9 Officer Forrest discovered approximately a quarter-pound of marijuana during a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Zachary Brighton, 23, Clay City, near Speedway Petroleum Corp., 301 West National Ave., Brazil.
Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton told The Brazil Times tips from concerned residents about heavy traffic flow around Brighton's home had been coming into the department for several months, but the ongoing investigation by the CCSD -- with the assistance of Indiana State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) -- intensified during the past month.
"Officers performed several controlled purchases of marijuana from Brighton's residence during the past month," Heaton said. "This was a team effort. The drug problem in Clay County is no different than in any other. We're a small department so we utilize other resources to help bring an end to these matters as quickly as possible."
Information during the stop led officials to obtain a search warrant for Brighton's residence located at 705 Washington St., Clay City.
During the search of the residence, officers located an undisclosed amount of cash, more than a pound of marijuana, an undisclosed amount of prescription drugs, various controlled substances, Psilocybe or "magic mushrooms" and various items of drug paraphernalia.
Because his residence is located near the school, Brighton was formally charged with three counts of "enhanced" class C felony dealing marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, one count each of class D felony maintaining a common nuisance, class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana, class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia and two counts of class C felony possession of controlled substance schedule I and III within 1,000 feet of a school.
Jail officials confirmed Brighton remains incarcerated on a $10,000 cash bond (no 10 percent allowed) to await further court proceedings.
Officials confirmed to The Brazil Times Zachary Brighton is the son of Mark E. Brighton, who was recently arrested at his Seelyville residence for alleged drug activity in October.
According to the Indiana State Police, Brighton was arrested on preliminary charges of class A felony dealing methamphetamine, class D felony possession of marijuana over 30 grams, class D felony cultivating marijuana, class D felony maintaining a common nuisance and class A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.
Gallatin was also taken into custody and formally charged with one count of class C felony possession of schedule IV controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school and class A misdemeanor visiting a common nuisance. On Sunday, Gallatin bonded out of the Clay County Justice Center to await further court proceedings.
When asked about the level of impact the three arrests would make in the community, Heaton said any drug activity -- especially that located near a school -- is a high priority for law enforcement.
"Marijuana is a drug that leads to problems and other things. Drugs are overburdening law enforcement by using up manpower, our budget money and time that we need to work on other types of cases. We still need to work thefts and burglary reports, which are often caused by someone trying to support their drug habit," Heaton said. "This investigation isn't over. We expect to potentially make more arrests off this case."