Nearly an ounce of heroin with an estimated street value of $12,000 and other drugs were seized, and four New Matamoras residents jailed Wednesday following a joint investigation by the Major Crimes Task Force and Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
Michael Armstrong, 32, and Brianne Nester, 28, of 28295 State Route 26; and Travis Poole, 27, and Alexandra Lemley, 27, of 311 Main St., all of New Matamoras, were arrested by Monroe County officers during a traffic stop on Ohio 565 around 3 a.m. Wednesday.
Lemley is a teacher in Pleasants County, W.Va. A call to the administration there was not returned Wednesday.
"We had identified these people as possibly involved in the transportation and possession of narcotics. They had been under surveillance for quite some time," said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.
He said task force officers had been following the suspects as they made several trips to Columbus where they allegedly purchased drugs that were brought back to the local area for sale and for their own use.
"These suspects had been traveling to the west side of Columbus and back at least 10 times a month," Mincks said. "We weren't exactly sure of where they were going at first, but we also worked with the Columbus narcotics unit, and they're very aware of where these transactions take place."
Officers were in place to intercept them on their way back to the area.
"We had officers located in different spots as the suspects often ran along back roads, and back and forth across the Washington and Monroe county lines," Mincks said.
Because they were arrested in Monroe County all four have been charged with felony drug possession there and the case will be handled in Monroe County Court.
Lemley and Nester were placed in the Washington County Jail, while Armstrong and Poole are incarcerated in the Noble County Jail.
Mincks explained that individuals arrested in Monroe County are normally housed at the Noble County Jail but there are no facilities for women at that location.
Lemley will also face at least one charge in Washington County of transporting narcotics into a detention facility as 8 grams of heroin were discovered hidden in a body cavity as she was processed into the facility.
In addition a total of 12 grams of heroin, two grams of crack cocaine, 30 oxycodone pills, numerous smoking pipes, foil used to smoke heroin and approximately $2,000 were recovered during searches of the suspects and their vehicle.
The Major Crimes Task Force is a multi-faceted organization composed of representatives from the Marietta and Belpre police departments, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney and Sheriff's offices, and the Washington County Prosecutor and Sheriff's offices.