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Two arrested in Bellaire, guns, pound of meth seized

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas reports on two recent drug arrests in Bellaire. A pound of methamphetamine was seized, along with other drugs and weapons.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Two people were arrested Wednesday and drugs and guns seized when a search warrant was served at a Bellaire house.

Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas said a narcotics investigation led detectives from the Belmont County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Interdiction Unit assigned to the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission to 23205 W. 23rd Street. He said the detectives seized more than a pound of methamphetamine and other narcotics along with paraphernalia for packaging and distribution. Law enforcement also seized an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a pistol.

Jamal Irving, 28, of Detroit, Michigan, was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree felony possession of drugs and one count of first-degree felony trafficking in drugs with a major drug offender specification.

Courtney Liberatore, 32, of Bellaire also was arrested and charged with felony permitting drug abuse.

Lucas said additional charges may be filed against the pair once the prosecutor’s office reviews the case. Detectives are also filing charges against another woman who allegedly was involved.

“From the investigation — it’s still ongoing — he was from Detroit and she’s a local resident. It was set up for, it looks like it was going to be packaged and sold locally,” Lucas said.

“A pound of meth is a lot of meth,” he said. “It’s a lot of distribution out there to sell. It was a really, really good investigation.”

Lucas commended the task force investigators.

“Ever since I was able to form this, it’s unbelievable how much drugs were taken off the street in Belmont County alone, and they’ll continue on,” he said. “They are out there every day. Looking, searching, because they know. They’re as devoted as I am that we want the drugs off the street and out of Belmont County.”

He said the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, has been an invaluable resource for local investigators.

“We’re all linked through all the other investigators,” he said. “It’s just a very good day for taking this much drugs and also weapons off the street. … Drugs and guns don’t go together. When you’re dealing with this much drugs, and you have these weapons, they’re for their protection for drug dealing.”

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