SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Five Scioto County residents are among 44 people named in a drug trafficking ring and health care fraud scheme that stretches from southern Ohio to Detroit and beyond, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Michigan.
William Ashley Smith, also known as “Cash,” Robert Scott Dials, 25, and Nathan Reed, 31, also known as “Reed,” all of Portsmouth, Ohio, are among those indicted. Cherish Lewis, 26, and Josh Barnes, 33, both of Wheelersburg, Ohio, are the other two charged from Scioto County.
Seven physicians, four pharmacists and three home health agency owners are among those indicted. Other suspects named in the indictment are from areas including northern Ohio, the Detroit area and Chicago.
The 13-count superseding indictment charges the 44 new defendants with a drug conspiracy involving prescription drug controlled substances including OxyContin, Opana, Vicodin and other drugs.
“Portsmouth is along a corridor of U.S. Route 23 better known as the drug pipeline," said Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware. "The flow of drugs from Detroit to Portsmouth and to neighboring cities such as Huntington, West Virginia, has changed lives and communities forever.”
Several law enforcement agencies combined efforts in the investigation leading up to the indictments, including the Portsmouth Police Department, the Detroit Police Department and the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office. Multiple federal agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Firearms and Explosives, also participated in the investigation.