GREENFIELD — A suspected heroin dealer was arrested this week after a months-long investigation by a detective who was added to the Greenfield Police Department last year to specialize in narcotics investigations.
An anonymous tip led local investigators to 21-year-old Clinton Parrish, who now faces five drug charges at the conclusion of a five-month investigation. Police say the Greenfield native was selling heroin and prescription drugs in Hancock County.
Parrish’s arrest reflects the success of a program created to curb drug abuse locally — an effort that has nearly doubled the number of narcotics investigations in city limits since last year, Greenfield Police Lt. Randy Ratliff said.
The department received funding from the city in January 2016 to hire an additional officer so a more seasoned detective could be dedicated to narcotics investigations. In the first quarter of 2016, the officer investigated 35 drug-related cases. That’s jumped to 63 in the first quarter of 2017.
Greenfield police officers began investigating Parrish in October.
They twice used confidential informants to purchase heroin and prescription drugs from the man, according to court documents. He was arrested Wednesday afternoon and was being held in the Hancock County Jail on $5,000 cash bond at press time.
Parrish, 913 N Meadows Lane, faces the following charges in Hancock Circuit Court: one Level 5 felony count of dealing a narcotic drug; one Level 5 felony count of corrupt business influence; one Level 6 felony count of possession of a narcotic drug; one Class A misdemeanor of dealing a Schedule 4 controlled substance; and one Class A misdemeanor of possession of a controlled substance.
Investigations like the one that ended with Parrish’s arrest take great time and resources; it can take months for detectives to collect enough information to pursue criminal charges, and at times, they need the help of other investigators, said Ratliff, the head of the Greenfield’s investigations unit.
Drugs play a role in many of the crimes police investigate, from thefts and burglaries to child abuse and neglect, Ratliff said. Often, it’s those types of the crimes that kick off a narcotics investigation, he said.
The county went five years without a concentrated drug enforcement effort. A drug task force comprised of investigators from the county and city was suspended indefinitely in 2010 after its lead detective admitted to pocketing money intended for drug buys.
Citing a growing problem with drug-use — heroin in particular — county and city officials announced simultaneously that they’d make drug investigations a priority again. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department added a narcotics detective first in October 2015 and brought on a second officer earlier this year.
The combined efforts of both departments led to 69 people being charged with drug-dealing in 2016, according to records from the Hancock County Prosecutor’s Office. That’s up from 26 in 2011 — the first year the county went without a concentrated drug enforcement, records show.
Tips from the community members always help to further police investigations, Ratliff said. Anyone with information about drug use in their area to call tip lines run by the police and sheriff’s department.
Greenfield residents can call 317-325-3784 to report suspicious activity. Residents outside city limits can call the sheriff’s department at 317-477-3784.
Police ask anyone with information about drug use in their area to call the department tip line. The line is anonymous and accepts messages.
Outside city limits: 317-477-DRUG