BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Task force continues drug busting

THE BELMONT County Drug Task Force is continuing its battle against illegal drugs in the county, and on Thursday it raided two houses in Bellaire and made five arrests.

The raids were conducted at a duplex at 1787 and 1789 Belmont St., and at 621-1/2 38th St. Confiscated from both residents were about $2,500 in cash, a loaded 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition and crack cocaine, marijuana and prescription pills.

Taking part in the operation which took place between 5-6 a.m. were police from Bellaire, Bridgeport, Martins Ferry, Shadyside and deputies from the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office.

“Our goal is to catch people off guard and be able to secure the residence without any incidents,” said Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland, who is also the task force commander.

At one of the residences, officers came across an aggressive pit bull that they had to put in a cage. McFarland said two children were also inside the house at the time of the raid. According to McFarland, the suspects were heating up the cocaine in the microwave to make crack and they had a security camera system set up to monitor visitors.

McFarland said the task force is trying to be more and more proactive toward the drug dealers in the county, whether it be cocaine, marijuana or prescription drugs, which are a major problem.

Taken into custody were the following:

  • Charles D. Durant, 31, of 1789 Belmont St., Bellaire. He was booked into the county jail on two counts of trafficking in drugs. Bond was set at $5,000;
  • Sylvester E. Walker, 20, of 186 14th St., Wheeling, who was booked on two counts of trafficking in drugs. Bond was set at $5,000;
  • Rudolph R. Galberth, of 605 Locust St., Martins Ferry, who was booked on trafficking in drugs charges. No bond was set;
  • Rudolph C. Litwin, 37, of 609 Locust St., Martins Ferry, who was booked on trafficking in drugs charges. No bond was set;
  • James C. Spears, 36, of 307 St. Clair Ave., Yorkville, was booked on two counts of trafficking in drugs. No bond was set.

McFarland said officers are dealing with more incidents of people trafficking in drugs who are not from the area. He said most of the recent heroin busts have either been people from out of town or local people who are associating with people from out of town.

The five suspects are in the Belmont Count Jail and are expected to be arraigned sometime this coming week.

“This is an on going investigation,” said McFarland. “I want to commend the officers conducting the investigation and urge people in the community to notify the Drug Task Force if they suspect someone dealing drugs.”

Van Dyne may be reached at kvandyne@timesleaderonline.com