GREENFIELD — They called it Operation: Spring Cleaning.

Greenfield police officers arrested nine people this week during a warrant sweep targeting suspected drug-dealers.

Led by Greenfield detectives, 25 officers swept the county Thursday and locked up nine people on drug-related charges, investigators said. Some of the suspects lived or sold drugs within walking distance of Greenfield schools, police said.

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A 10th suspect is being treated at an Indianapolis hospital and will be arrested upon her release, police said. One warrant has yet to be served.

Six of the suspects charged this week are accused of dealing drugs — mostly heroin — in Greenfield, said Detective Lt. Randy Ratliff, head of Greenfield’s investigations unit. The remaining defendants are accused of possessing drugs or conspiring to deal drugs, records show.

Collectively, they face 27 felony charges and 14 misdemeanors, records show.

The arrests came at the conclusion of a three-month investigation during which officers fielded tips from neighbors, monitored homes and used undercover informants to buy drugs and collect evidence.

Officers from six law enforcement agencies assisted in the effort Thursday, Greenfield Police Department Chief John Jester said. Starting just before 2 p.m., police broke into three groups and spread out across the city, checking the suspects’ homes and places they were known to frequent.

Their efforts took them outside of city limits and into McCordsville and Indianapolis, Jester said. Two suspects were found at local businesses, one was already in the county jail and one was being treated at a hospital for an unrelated reason; the rest were arrested at home.

Among those charged were parents, a husband and wife and a father and son.

One man answered a knock on his front door wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the D.A.R.E. logo. D.A.R.E. is a Drug Resistance Education program.

The Department of Child Services had to be called to assist on three of the arrests; seven children were taken from their parents’ care once they were taken into custody.

Officers said they are hoping the arrest sweep sends a powerful signal to other users and dealers about enforcement efforts in Hancock County while also showing residents that police are making strides to keep them safe.

Last year, the Greenfield City Council allotted additional funding for the police department to hire a narcotics detective in 2016. Hancock County officials then followed suit, adding a narcotics detective to the ranks of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.

While those officers don’t create a formal task force, they work together regularly. The sheriff’s department’s officer has put at least 20 people in jail on drug-related charges since he was hired in October.

Greenfield’s detective has racked up at least a dozen arrests — in addition to the 11 arrested this week — in the three months he’s been on the job, police said.

Department leaders from Greenfield and the sheriff’s department have said they’ll likely request funding for additional narcotics detectives in the coming years because their drug-enforcement efforts will grow.

Drug investigations can take upward of 40 hours of work, Detective Nichole Gilbert said. While having the additional detective on board to lead narcotics investigation has helped, other investigators are often pulled in to assist, which takes them away from their typical caseload.

Local police cited an increase in overdose deaths when pleading with local leaders to increase their resources. Hancock County Coroner’s records show 22 people died from overdoses in 2015; that’s up from 17 in 2014 and 15 in 2013.

Collectively, about 40 percent of the overdose deaths Hancock County has seen in recent years were related to street drugs, Chief Deputy Coroner Rudy Nylund.

It’s those people police say they are trying to save. Getting dealers off the street quickly prevents people from buying drugs and will hopefully stifle the thefts and burglaries officers typically find are associated with drug use, Detective Ron Chittum said.

Police said they are encouraging residents to continue calling in information about suspicious drug activity in the city.

“Call because the tips are helping, and they are being investigated,” Jester said.

Charges they face

Jamie Lane, 27, Greenfield:

Dealing a narcotic drug (methadone), Level 4 felony

Dealing a narcotic drug (heroin), Level 5 felony

Dealing a narcotic drug, Level 5 felony

Corrupt business influence, Level 5 felony

Possession of cocaine, Level 5 felony

Possession of a narcotic drug (heroin), Level 6 felony

Possession of a narcotic drug (heroin), Level 6 felony

Ryan McCauley, 27, Greenfield:

Dealing a narcotic drug (heroin), Level 4 felony

Possession of a narcotic drug (heroin), Level 5 felony

Greg McCauley, 56, Greenfield:

Dealing a narcotic drug (heroin), Level 4 felony

Possession of a narcotic drug (heroin), Level 5 felony

Catharina Emous, 48, Greenfield:

Dealing a narcotic drug (morphine), Level 4 felony

Dealing a narcotic drug (oxymorphone), Level 4 felony

Dealing a narcotic drug (oxymorphone), Level 4 felony

Corrupt business influence, Level 5 felony

Maintaining a common nuisance, Level 6 felony

Bradley Fuller, 48, Greenfield:

Dealing a narcotic drug (morphine), Level 4 felony

Dealing a narcotic drug (oxymorphone), Level 4 felony

Corrupt business influence, Level 5 felony

Maintaining a common nuisance, Level 6 felony

Mara Griffith, 26, Greenfield (not yet arrested):

Conspiracy to deal a narcotic drug, Level 5 felony

Attempt to deal a narcotic drug, Level 5 felony

Theft, Class A misdemeanor

Wesley Fair, 33, Greenfield:

Possession of methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Possession of marijuana, Class B misdemeanor

Possession of marijuana, Class A misdemeanor

Possession of paraphernalia, Class C misdemeanor

Douglas Wiggington, 47, Greenfield:

Possession of methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Possession of a narcotic drug (heroin), Level 6 felony

Possession of marijuana, Class B misdemeanor

Possession of marijuana, Class A misdemeanor

Possession of paraphernalia as a Class C misdemeanor

Possession of paraphernalia as a Class A misdemeanor

Chris Kelly, 23, Greenfield:

Possession of marijuana, Class B misdemeanor

Possession of paraphernalia, Class C misdemeanor

Savannah Watson, 22, Indianapolis:

Possession of methamphetamine, Level 6 felony

Possession of a narcotic drug (heroin), Level 6 felony

Possession of marijuana, Class B misdemeanor

Possession of paraphernalia, Class C misdemeanor

Participating agencies

The following agencies worked together Thursday during the warrant sweep:

Greenfield Police Department

Hancock County Sheriff’s Department

Fortville Police Department

McCordsville Police Department

New Palestine Police Department

Indiana State Police

Hancock County Emergency Operations Center

Indiana Department of Child Services

Drug tipline

Residents can call 317-325-3784 to report suspicious activity. All tips will be investigated, police said.

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.