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With nowhere to house them in Monroe County, 31 arrested on drug charges
Updated: Thursday, March 27 2014, 05:39 PM EDT
MONROE COUNTY, Ohio More than two dozen individuals have been arrested and are facing serious felony charges as a major drug trafficking sweep in Monroe County came to a close.
A major, time-consuming investigation that began in May 2013 wrapped up this week as 31 people have been charged and indicted by a grand jury.
From heroin, prescription medication, cocaine, marijuana, it was just a wide variety of narcotics, Monroe County Sherriff Chuck Black said.
Black said the warrant roundup began early Tuesday morning after 101 indictments were returned by a grand jury.
Just because we're a small rural area doesn't mean we're exempt from the same criminal activity that occurs in other larger jurisdictions, Black said.
Of the 31 facing charges, one remains on the run. Hes Jeremy K. Bowen, of Woodsfield, who faces charges of trafficking and possession of heroin.
The Monroe County Major Crimes Task Force, equipped with grant money, spent more than $18,000 to complete the investigation and that doesn't include overtime, man hours, vehicle usage and fuel.
So I would say we're up into the $30,000 mark, Black said.
All of these arrests were made with an inactive jail.
The jail was shut down as a fully functional facility in 2000. Then in roughly 2004, it reopened as a five-day holding facility. Its currently a 12-day holding facility, but since an inspection by the department of corrections last fall, all prisoners are currently being shipped out.
With the 30 individuals we have incarcerated at this time, we have them scattered all over southeast Ohio, Black said.
Black said housing inmates in other county facilities can prove costly at the citizens expense.
Currently we're housing 37 prisoners, so with that tally, we're going to be into the mid 60-right around $66-67,000 a month to house those 37 prisoners outside of our jurisdictions, Black said.
The idea of a new jailhouse is being tossed around.
That is the decision the commissioners and the citizens of the county are going to have come to if that's an avenue that we need to explore, Black said.
Black said the lack of a place to house inmates isn't an excuse to allow law-breakers to run the streets.
We can't use our situation to not perform our duties, Black said. Ultimately it's costly but it is an avenue that we're going to keep incarcerating as many people as we need to.
Black said he has a meeting with the commissioners on Monday regarding the status of the jail.