BLANCHESTER — An ongoing narcotics investigation targeting suspects selling illegal drugs in Blanchester has resulted in indictments against nine people, Police Chief Scott Reinbolt announced Wednesday.
Beginning in January 2017 and ending in autumn 2017, the Blanchester Police Department conducted the investigation — dubbed “Operation Changing Seasons” — which involved numerous undercover buys of methamphetamine, Reinbolt said.
“The majority of the drugs were purchased on the street in downtown Blanchester,” he added.
The drugs purchased were sent to the Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory for analysis. Once the results were complete, the cases were sent to Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Moyer for his review.
Reinbolt said Moyer’s office presented the cases to a recent session of the county grand jury, which returned indictments for trafficking in drugs against three individuals:
• Holly McHenry, 34, of Milford
• Thomas Harter, 28, homeless
• Kayla White, 25, of Blanchester
In addition, during autumn 2017 the police department stepped up drug interdiction efforts and seized heroin and methamphetamine from numerous individuals during traffic stops and other police contacts, Reinbolt said, and the drugs seized were sent to the crime lab for analysis.
Once the results of that testing were complete, the cases were sent to the county prosecutor’s office, which presented the cases to a grand jury.
Reinbolt said indictments for felony possession of drugs were handed down against six individuals:
• Mark Allen, 32, of Martinsville
• Tiffany Williams, 28, homeless
• Benjamin Bach, 36, of South Lebanon
• Trevor May, 30, of Blanchester
• Charles Gray, 29, of Blanchester
• Kenneth Vinson, 49, currently at large. “Vinson fled from a traffic stop on North Broadway Street in August,” said Reinbolt. “Thirteen grams of methamphetamine were found in the car he was driving.
He said that 13 grams of methamphetamine is more than four times the “bulk” amount of that drug.
“I am fully aware that, compared to similar operations in larger cities, ‘Operation Changing Seasons’ was not a huge operation,” said Reinbolt. “However, for a police department of our size it represents a substantial body of work which entailed long hours and hard work by several of our police officers. I appreciate their tireless effort. The operation’s success was also helped by information received from members of the public — we appreciate their assistance.
“This is the first long-term narcotics investigation the department has undertaken since budget cuts hit the department several years ago, leaving us with inadequate resources to undertake this type of investigation,” Reinbolt added.
He said that Operation Changing Seasons was made possible through supplemental funding of police department operations by the Citizens for Adequate Policing Trust Fund, which invested several thousand dollars into this effort.
“We are grateful to the benefactor who established that fund,” said Reinbolt.