Police conduct meth buy-bust
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Martins Ferry resident Richard Lollathin was arrested early Tuesday during a methamphetamine buy-bust conducted by the members of the Belmont County Drug and Violent Crime Task Force, Sheriff David Lucas said.
Lucas made the announcement during a press conference held Tuesday afternoon at his office. He said Lollathin, 44, of Barries Drive, Martins Ferry was arrested at about 1 a.m. Tuesday in the parking lot of Walmart in St. Clairsville during the pre-planned drug buy. Lucas said Lollathin already had warrants out for his arrest in connection with an unrelated high-speed chase that occurred last week in the Bridgeport and Martins Ferry areas.
Lollathin’s total charges include two counts of trafficking a Schedule II drug, two counts of possession of drugs, resisting arrest, failure to appear on the charges of criminal damaging, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under suspension. He is being held in the Belmont County Jail on bonds totaling $15,750.
Lucas said the May 15 pursuit started out as a traffic stop on Lollathin’s Dodge Durango. Initially, law enforcement had received a call that a woman was being held against her will at Lollathin’s home. However, no one was there when officers arrived.
Officers then began to look for Lollathin’s vehicle. When they did spot it, they noticed there was a woman inside the vehicle. When officers tried to initiate a stop on Lollathin’s vehicle on Ohio 7, the driver fled. At times the vehicle was traveling 100 mph, Lucas said.
Lollathin eventually bailed out of the vehicle in a construction area on U.S. 250 and escaped from police on foot, according to the sheriff. The woman, who was simply receiving a ride from Lollathin, was unharmed and not charged with any wrongdoing. Lucas said he did not know who made the call regarding the woman allegedly being held against her will, but it was not the woman who called police.
Lucas noted there was no evidence of a meth lab at Lollathin’s home.
“What puts it all together is the scales for trafficking,” Lucas said of the weight measuring scales allegedly found in Lollathin’s possession during the buy-bust operation.
“This is just another classic case of good work done by the officer and the deputies … and members of the crime unit putting this together and us working together as a team. … It was a good day. We took another drug dealer and another serious criminal off the street,” Lucas added.