SHIRLEY — Four Shirley men face drug-related charges after a recent raid led by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.
Andrew Jones, 36; Michael Clark, 61; and Michael Johnson, 56, were charged this week with a combined seven felony counts related to drug dealing. Jerry Conley, 60, who also was rounded up in the sweep, faces a felony charge for drug possession.
The arrests came at the conclusion of a six-week investigation. All men pleaded not guilty during hearings held Thursday morning.
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After receiving a tip from an informant in early April, police began tailing Johnson, who was believed to be providing Jones with prescription painkillers to sell to others, court records state.
Johnson is prescribed both morphine and Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication; police followed his red pickup to a pharmacy in New Palestine on April 7, where he was expected to pick up his medication, records state.
Once officers saw Johnson return with his medications to his car, where Jones was a passenger, they followed both men back to Johnson’s home.
Shortly after, police followed them to Conley’s home in Shirley, where they suspected Conley of purchasing some of the pills; court records state.
When Conley left his apartment later in the day, officers pulled him over for a traffic violation along County Road 700N. Inside the car, sheriff’s deputies and Shirley police officers, who assisted on the stop, found 10 morphine pills, the same prescription Johnson picked up earlier in the day.
Conley said he purchased the pills from Jones and led officers to two more morphine pills inside his apartment, court records state.
Later in the month, officers got a tip that another Shirley resident also was selling prescription pills.
The tip led police to Clark, who is accused of selling Opana, a powerful painkiller, court records state.
During Tuesday’s raid on Clark’s Shirley residence, police also arrested Clark’s son, Cody, who was wanted on a warrant for a probation violation. Cody Clark, formerly convicted of possession of cocaine, had recently failed a drug screen, Sheriff’s Detective Capt. Jeff Rasche said.
Rasche said he hopes the arrests send a strong message to dealers.
Especially in a small community like Shirley, drugs can be distributed throughout town quickly, and it’s easy for addictions to develop, he said.
“Those pills are deadly,” Rasche said. “By taking these four down, I think it’ll make a significant impact.”