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15 arrested in Wheeling drug ring investigation

Updated: Monday, February 10 2014, 07:01 PM EST

By: Crissy Clutter and NEWS9

WHEELING – Fifteen people were indicted on drug charges Monday in Wheeling, with Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger calling the Ohio Valley’s war on drugs an “epidemic.”

“For those citizens that we serve and gladly serve every day, this war will continue to wage on, and it is certainly an epidemic in this area.” Schwertzfeger said.

U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld said 83 charges have been filed, all having to do with the sale and abuse of prescription drugs, cocaine, and other drugs.

Ihlenfield identified 37-year-old Brian Schultz as the alleged ring leader. The others are – Katherin Hungerman, Dustin Namack, Derick Namack, Jill West, Steven L. Namack, Christopher Howard, Buddy Robert Salem Jr., Kristyn Elizabeth Fetcko, Michael Coppa, Cara Olako, Richard W. Hercules, Jr., Lucas N. High, Adams W. Barnes, and Jordan Sorge – a group of people with occupations ranging from guidance counselor to nurse, many of them parents.

At a news conference Monday, law enforcement explained how the arrests came about.

“There were sophisticated surveillance techniques that were used during the investigation and the execution came with the three search warrants at homes last month believed to be connected to this operation,”Ihlenfeld said. “During those searches, large amounts of pills and currency were seized.”

Purchases were also made by agents during the 16-month investigation. Investigators are seeking a $450,000 money judgment believed to have been made by the sale of the drugs.

“This is a case that’s going to open some eyes and cause everyone to be reminded of the problems we have in the Ohio Valley to drug abuse and drug trafficking, all of these people allegedly involved in a prescription pill trafficking ring.”

Police believe the drugs were being brought in from Ohio and Michigan.

15 arrested in Wheeling drug ring investigation

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