Three suspected drug dealers described as "heavy hitters" were arrested Wednesday in Washington County after a multi-year drug investigation conducted by the Washington-Morgan Major Crimes Task in cooperation with multiple other Ohio, West Virginia, and Federal agencies.
The suspected ring leader, Brent J. Sidwell, 32, 1045 Ridgewood Blvd, Belpre, has reported ties outside of the country, said Major Brian Schuck of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
"At the peak, he was trafficking as much as 600 pounds of marijuana a month," said Schuck.
Top row, l to r: Sidwell, Fields, Naylor
Bottom row, l to r: Jarvis, Johnson, Brown
Also arrested were Timothy A. Fields, 38, of 703 21st St., Vienna, and David A. Naylor, 27, of 2311 Pike St. Lot 18, Parkersburg.
All three men were arrested during a Wednesday afternoon traffic stop near US 50 and Ohio 339 and were charged with two counts each of distribution of over 28 grams of cocaine, a first degree felony.
Sidwell has additionally been charged with a first-degree felony count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.
The various charges stem from drug deals in March and April of this year, according to a press release from the task force.
The arrests were the culmination of multiple search warrants executed Wednesday in Washington and Wood counties.
The Parkersburg Police Department and the Wood County Sheriff's Office assigned members of the Aggressive Crime Enforcement Task Force to assist the Washington County Major Crimes Task Force to investigate criminal matters that were taking place in Wood County. Other departments involved included the Marietta and Belpre Police Departments, the West Virginia State Police and several federal agencies.
"The investigation revealed several individuals in the organization that were involved in illegal acts to include drug trafficking," Parkersburg Chief Joe Martin said. "Detectives made several controlled buys of large amounts of cocaine and marijuana in Parkersburg and Washington County.
"These controlled buys and other investigative techniques allowed the detectives to obtain arrest and search warrants."
In addition to search warrants at each of the three Washington County men's homes, warrants were executed at The 5th Street Pub, which Sidwell operates, said Schuck.
Warrants were also executed at 2707 Polk Drive, Parkersburg, where detectives arrested Jeffery J. Brown for one felony count of Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Deliver. Brown was processed and arraigned in Wood County Magistrate Court and is still being held on $50,000 bond; and 217 Fox Run Drive, Mineral Wells, where Dustin Keith Jarvis was arrested on charges of possession with the intent to deliver cocaine. He was arraigned in Wood County Magistrate Court and was released on $65,000 bond. Parkersburg Police also have an outstanding felony warrant for Christopher Paul Johnson for Conspiracy to Deliver a Controlled Substance. Johnson will also face additional criminal charges as a result of the search of his residence at 2503 Lincoln Avenue, Parkersburg. .
A large amount of assets were seized during the raids. Investigators took six pounds of marijuana, one pound of cocaine, around $20,000 in cash, five vehicles, two jet skis, a recently purchased $8,000 commercial lawn mower, and household furniture, said Schuck.
The two year investigation was conducted as part of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission under the direction of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Said DeWine in a press release, "This case is a great example of local, state, and federal law enforcement working together to keep Ohioans, as well as our neighbors in West Virginia, safe from the crime and violence associated with the drug trade."
All three Washington County men are being held at the Washington County Jail. Fields and Naylor are being held on a $200,000 bond.
Sidwell posted his initial $200,000 bond on the cocaine charges Thursday, but was arrested Friday on the pattern of corrupt activity charge. He remains incarcerated with a $500,000 bond.
All of the arrests made in Wood and Washington counties this week will have an impact on drug distribution in the area, Martin said.
"This investigation will create noticeable disruption in the cocaine and marijuana distribution trade in this area," he said.
The long term impact is still to be determined.
"This group will be out of business for some time," Martin said. "It is a never ending battle.
"As long as dealers continue to make profits it will continue to keep us busy."
The investigation is continuing and more arrests could be made.
Brett Dunlap contributed.