Eight arrested in large meth bust near Reelsville

Saturday, June 29, 2013
Ronda Deal

REELSVILLE -- A large methamphetamine raid in Washington Township resulted in eight arrests and the seizure of large amounts of the drug and money.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Department, in conjunction with the Clay and Vigo county sheriff's departments, seized nearly four pounds of methamphetamine and approximately a quarter million dollars as a result of the investigation.

Charged in the case is the owner of the property 9730 S. CR 675 West, 53-year-old Ronda Deal of Reelsville. She faces two counts of dealing in methamphetamine over three grams, two counts of possession of methamphetamine over three grams, conspiracy to deal methamphetamine, possession of stolen property and maintaining a common nuisance.

James Wright

Additionally, her boyfriend, James Dallas Wright, 55, of Reelsville, was charged with two counts of dealing in methamphetamine over three grams, two counts of possession of methamphetamine over three grams, possession of stolen property and maintaining a common nuisance.

Others charged in the case include:

* Luis Alberto Calderon, 43, Indianapolis: Dealing in methamphetamine over three grams and possession of methamphetamine over three grams;

* Eric Steven Girton, 44, Brazil: Possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license;

* Everett Earl Minnick, 50, Knightsville: Possession of methamphetamine, visiting a common nuisance and being a habitual traffic violator;

* Brian Steven Doane, 31, Indianapolis: Operating while intoxicated/refusal and possession of a controlled substance;

* Lindsey Deal, 29, Greencastle: Visiting a common nuisance;

* Jacquelyn Riser, 47, Reelsville: Visiting a common nuisance.

Putnam County Sheriff's Department detectives said the warrant was initially served at approximately 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 25 by the sheriff's department emergency response team, along with units from Clay County and Vigo County.

Serving the warrant was the culmination of an investigation dating back to early 2013 when a source indicated there were "large amounts of methamphetamine coming in and out of that house."

Authorities initially arrested four people, including Ronda Deal and Wright, who face the most serious charges in the case.

Ronda's stepdaughter Lindsey Deal and Riser were both also arrested for visiting a common nuisance, but face no further charges.

All four were booked into the Putnam County Jail on Tuesday evening.

On the property, investigators found approximately 100 grams of methamphetamine, which well exceeds the three gram threshold for dealing charges. They also found nearly $250,000 in cash.

There were also a number of weapons seized from the property.

Authorities remained on the site for nearly three days processing their find. Over the course of the investigation, the remaining four suspects came to the house, finding unexpected visitors when they arrived.

Girton was the first to arrive later Tuesday evening. A canine officer indicated the scent of methamphetamine on his vehicle.

A search of the vehicle yielded a small amount of the drug, as well as two pipes.

He was booked into the jail early Wednesday morning.

Doane arrived the following day and was found to be driving under the influence of alcohol and illegally in the possession of vicodin.

He was transported to the jail on Wednesday afternoon.

Arriving later in the afternoon on Wednesday, Calderon was the only one of the suspects who attempted to flee police.

He apparently had good reason -- after a canine indication of the sent and the consent to search, detectives located more than 3.5 pounds of methamphetamine in the vehicle, the lion's share of the drugs seized in the operation.

Calderon was also taken to the jail on Wednesday.

Minnick was the final unlucky visitor to arrive and was discovered to be in possession of about two grams of methamphetamine and some U.S. currency.

He was booked into the jail early Thursday afternoon.

Detectives said the irony of the last four arrests was that the police presence was in no way concealed. A number of police cars, some marked and some unmarked, were on the scene at all times, along with a number of police officers.

Lindsey Deal, Riser and Doane are not facing any methamphetamine charges, and all three have since posted bail.

The others remained housed at the Putnam County Jail as of 4 p.m. Friday.

Investigators wished to praise the work done by the other counties in this matter.

"Vigo and Clay counties were invaluable in giving us manpower, resources -- whatever we needed," Putnam County detectives said in a statement. "They were vital to the operation."

Besides the $250,000 in actual cash seized in the operation, detectives indicated the drugs seized would have had a minimum street value of $100,000 and perhaps much more.

Investigators said the inquiry is ongoing, and they continued to log evidence and further the investigation as of Friday afternoon.

They classified it as among the biggest methamphetamine busts the county has seen.

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    -- Posted by bottomline on Sat, Jun 29, 2013, at 12:19 AM
  • Reelsville is no longer the sleepy little town it used to be.

    -- Posted by donantonioelsabio on Sat, Jun 29, 2013, at 9:41 AM
  • Trash dealing poison in Putnam County. Please let's hope they get real prison time. Let the rest of the scum know you make that stuff here, and you go away for a long time.

    -- Posted by conffool on Sun, Jun 30, 2013, at 9:29 PM

    -- Posted by clgruener on Mon, Jul 1, 2013, at 10:53 AM
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