A Columbus man suspected of dealing drugs from an area motel and a Marietta mother and daughter reportedly helping him were arrested early Thursday morning, along with a woman staying in a nearby motel room and wanted in Franklin County.
The investigation was in light of information that Dawayne R. Fowler, 33, of 1161 South Wearing Road, Columbus, and other individuals were regularly running drugs to Marietta, said Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.
"We had information on the type of vehicle they might be driving and had good info they might be in town," he said.
As is often the case with out of town drug dealers, Fowler had reportedly hooked up with local residents to help distribute the drugs, said Mincks.
"A lot of times the males come down and make friends with females...Sometimes the girls will act as couriers for them," he said.
Investigators believe some of the drugs were being sold out of 100 A Linwood Ave.-the Marietta home of Rhonda S. Martin, 50, and her daughter Brittany M. Martin, 28, said Major Brian Schuck of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
About the arrests
Four arrested early Thursday morning after search warrants were executed.
Crack cocaine, Percocet pills and cash were found in a Pike Street motel room.
More crack cocaine and a crack pipe were found at a Marietta home where drugs deals were thought to be taking place.
Dawayne R. Fowler, 33, of 1161 South Wearing Road, Columbus, was arrested at the motel and charged with a fourth-degree and a fifth-degree felony count of drug possession.
Brittany M. Martin, 28, of 100 A Linwood Ave., Marietta, was arrested at the motel and charged with a fourth-degree and a fifth-degree felony count of drug possession.
Rhonda S. Martin, 50, also of 100 A Linwood Ave. was arrested at that address on a fifth-degree felony count of drug possession and a fifth-degree felony count of permitting drug abuse.
Jacqueline N. Groves, 23, of 13725 Union Road, Laurelville, was arrested in a nearby motel room on a warrant out of Franklin County for a parole violation.
Source: Washington County Sheriff's Office.
"It was her residence we know a lot of the narcotics were being sold out of," Schuck said of Rhonda.
Search warrants were executed both at Rhonda's home and at the motel early Thursday morning and crack cocaine was found at both locations, said Mincks.
At the hotel, Fowler and Brittany Martin did not comply with the search warrant and the Major Crimes Task Force agents had to force their way into the room, said Schuck.
"We had to breach the door," he said.
Inside the room, agents found 5.25 grams of crack, approximately $500 worth, said Mincks.
They also found 12 Percocet pills and $600.
The cash indicated the pair had already sold some of the drugs, said Mincks.
"They probably had already sold at least four to six grams of cocaine. They get about $100 a gram for it," he said.
Fowler and Brittany were each charged with a fourth-degree and a fifth-degree felony count of drug possession.
Brittany Martin had just been released from the Washington County Jail on other charges in January, said Mincks. She has prior charges for drug trafficking, assault, domestic violence, and failure to appear, he said.
Fowler was convicted in 2002 of carrying a concealed weapon, he added.
Jacqueline N. Groves, 23, of 13725 Union Road, Laurelville, was arrested in a nearby hotel room after arousing the suspicion of investigators. She gave her identification, and investigators learned there was a warrant out of Franklin County for her arrest on a parole violation, said Mincks.
According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, she was released from prison in November after serving a two-year sentence on charges of complicity to commit robbery and complicity to commit theft.
Investigators have not been able to establish a definite link between Groves and Fowler, though they did check into the motel at the same time and traveled from similar areas, noted Mincks.
At the Linwood Avenue home, more crack cocaine and a crack pipe was found, leading Rhonda Martin to also be charged with a fifth-degree felony count of drug possession. She was also charged with permitting drug abuse, a fifth-degree felony, for allowing drugs to be sold from her home, said Schuck.
The sheriff's office used its two new armored vehicles during the execution of the search warrants-one at each location.
"Officer safety is the primary concern in the use of those BearCats. It was placed in a location that would be beneficial to us. Tactically, if you're getting shot at and you have it parked nearby, you have a place to retreat to," said Mincks.
Intelligence indicated that one of the possible couriers would be armed, he said. However, none of the suspects ultimately had guns with them.
An additional suspect, who was not found at the motel or Marietta residence Thursday night, has an "approach with caution" indicator placed on him and is possibly the subject of an outstanding federal warrant, Mincks said.
Mincks declined to release the final suspect's name.