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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Officials: Teamwork paying off

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

*Sheriff applauds group efforts for February arrests

For 14 months, state, federal and local law enforcement gathered all the information they could.

They conducted investigations, did field work and more. A total collaborative effort.

The end result was the indictment of 18 individuals in February, including residents from Clay County. Others indicted included residents from Vigo and Putnam counties as well as Bartholomew County.

"It's fair to say this has dismantled, effectively, an alleged statewide methamphetamine operation," United States Attorney Joseph H. Hogsett said at the time. "This was not only distributing methamphetamine throughout the Wabash Valley. This was very well organized and sophisticated."

Seven individuals from Clay County were indicted in the February sting, including Cassandra Cheatham, 43, Brazil; Jacob Dean, 24, Brazil; Christopher Loughmiller, 26, Brazil; Gwendolyn Kallner, 44, Brazil; Robert Moore, 46, Brazil; Laura Sproul, 31, Brazil; and Sankey Rust, 32, Brazil.

Agencies involved in the sting included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Marshals Service, Indianapolis Metro Drug Task Force, Putnam and Vigo Adult Probation units, Seelyville Town Marshal, Indiana State Police, Clay County Sheriff's Department, Vigo County Sheriff's Department, Putnam County Sheriff's Department, Clay County Prosecutor's Office, Vigo County Prosecutor's Office, Putnam County Prosecutor's Office, Terre Haute Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Wabash Valley Safe Streets Task Force.

While one avenue for illegal drugs was shut down, local law enforcement officials are still investigating others.

"We shut down a big pipeline to this community," Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton said. "We've cut off one source. But this investigation itself is not entirely over. It's not going to stop there. Other information could lead to other investigations.

"The ultimate goal, in any investigation, is to cut down that source. This last round up was pretty much that."

Heaton said he doesn't expect Clay County's ongoing battle against methamphetamine to end anytime soon.

"These investigations are never-ending," he said.

However, having other agencies get involved does help.

The Clay County Sheriff's Department has set aside one person dedicated to narcotics. When other departments begin sharing information, investigations may get larger in scope.

"We're in constant contact ... to let (other agencies) know what we have," Heaton said. "It's all information sharing. We know in investigations like these, they overlap.

"Each case is unique itself. We've worked several cases on through the state level that didn't fit parameters of the federal level."

Federal level agencies get involved in stings of this magnitude based on what Heaton called the "pre-weight" of the specific narcotic. For example, an individual would face federal charges for transporting 500 pounds of marijuana.

In addition, at the federal level, those convicted are required to spend 85 percent of their sentence behind bars. In contrast, those convicted at the state level face the possibility of spending less than 50 percent of their sentence behind bars.

"But the investigation itself varies from case to case," Heaton said. "Still, it's a wake up call."

"We get anonymous calls all the time. For the last investigation we were getting calls."

Heaton admitted from time to time, residents might get frustrated when action doesn't happen immediately. But agencies must have proof before taking action.

"Sometimes, it doesn't move as fast as they want," Heaton said.

In the most recent sting, some of the names were familiar, which didn't surprise Heaton.

"It doesn't necessarily amaze us," he said. "It comes as no surprise. (Methamphetamine) is a very addictive drug. It's comical that they think they're getting one over us."

Heaton added inmates at the Clay County Justice Center have the option of taking substance abuse classes if they desire. However, a complete lifestyle makeover is almost necessary, he added.

"It's no easy task once you complete that," Heaton said. "The person has to break the cycle."

While the county's ongoing battle against illegal narcotics is ongoing, Heaton said other cities and towns -- nationwide -- deal with the same situations every day.

"It affects every community," he said. "But every person has the potential to do something great. (We try to do) everything possible to limit the amount."

Alleged violations

On Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, Indiana Conservation Officers served arrest warrants on James L. Jacob, 37, Brazil, and Ronald Hayne, 62, Terre Haute, for multiple alleged violations of wildlife laws following a 12-month investigation.

According to officials, Jacob faces the following possible charges:

* 1 class D felony of unlawful sale or shipment of wild animals,

* 1 class B misdemeanor of illegal possession of wild turkey,

* 4 class B misdemeanors of illegal possession of whitetail deer,

* 2 class C misdemeanors of aiding, inducing, or causing an individual to hunt pheasant in closed season,

* 2 class C misdemeanors of hunting by the aid of a motorized conveyance,

* 2 class C misdemeanors of hunting from a public roadway,

* 2 class C misdemeanors of aiding, inducing, or causing the illegal taking of pheasants,

* 1 class C misdemeanor of jacklighting (shining an artificial light from a motorized conveyance while in possession of a firearm),

* 1 class C misdemeanor of failure to maintain continuous burning light while hunting furbearers,

* 1 class C misdemeanor of failure to procure resident hunting license,

* 1 class C misdemeanor of failure to post signage every 500-feet and single strand wire on boundary of shooting preserve,

* 1 class C misdemeanor of aiding, inducing, or causing the illegal taking of coyote, and

* 1 class C misdemeanor of failure to provide bill of sale for birds killed on shooting preserve.

In addition, Hayne also faces the following possible charges:

* 2 class C misdemeanors of aiding, inducing, or causing an individual to hunt pheasant in closed season,

* 2 class C misdemeanors of hunting from a public roadway,

* 2 class C misdemeanors of hunting by the aid of a motorized conveyance, and

* 2 class C misdemeanors of aiding, inducing, or causing the illegal taking of wildlife.

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"It's no easy task once you complete that," Heaton said. "The person has to break the cycle."

So true! What one really needs to realize is the cycle is never complete until one dies. I've been in recovery for 19 years as of last Christmas Day, but I still consider myself an alcoholic. I'm just an alcohol who chooses not to drink... today. Not drinking or using is easy for a while; changing one's lifestyle is another story. I was in a detoxification hospital 25 times over a ten year period. Each time I swore that I would not drink again. For 24 of those 25 times I continued to hang with the same people I had drank with, go to the same places I went when I drink and did the same things I did when I drank. The only difference was, I did not drink... until later when I became complacent. I had it made. I was cured. I was no longer an alcoholic. I celebrated with a drink, then it began all over again, each time getting worse and worse, being able to handling less and less of the spirit. When we have the DESIRE, not need or want, the DESIRE to stop, we can by the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Some are reading this and saying, "Yeah, steve47834 only drank. He has no idea what REAL drugs are like". Baloney! Alcohol is the most popular drug there is. Alcohol is the only drug that you could die from while withdrawing. Withdrawing from other drugs makes you wish you were dead, but alcohol KILLS you. The worse drug you can be addicted to is the drug YOU are on. Your "gateway" drug is the VERY next drug you use. We (alcoholics/drug addicts) always end up going back to the drug we love. I love alcohol. I did not drink for eight months one time. I got bored. I smoked pot. That gave a high, but not the high I wanted, the high my alcohol gave me. As with almost any drug, my thinking process was altered, I began to believe that if I drank just a couple drinks I could handle it and go on about my business tomorrow. I drank one night after smoking pot. I never went back to work after that for several months, because I was drinking.

With these recent arrests, my wife and I read where a friend's daughter was once again caught up in drugs. She was doing so well, looking good and had a respectable job. Word was that this time she was "just dealing". I say she WASN'T dealing... with life.

People, places and things: changing those is what you must do to remain clean and sober. If you think you can't do those three things, just try changing one, the others will take care of themselves. Difficult? Yes. Worth it? Yes!

-- Posted by steve47834 on Wed, Feb 29, 2012, at 10:32 PM

Well said, steve47834!

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, Mar 4, 2012, at 3:45 AM

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