UPDATE 7/30/14 @ 12 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- One-by-one, 17 people charged in a drug trafficking ring, with ties to both Portsmouth and Columbus, went before a Scioto County judge Wednesday morning for their arraignment.
The 17 are among the 22 people recently indicted by Scioto County Grand Jury following an 18-month investigation.
Prosecutors say the ring included members of the 22nd St. or “Deuce Deuce” Bloods gangs from Columbus.
Each of the 22 faces charges of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, Trafficking in Heroin, and Conspiracy to Trafficking in Heroin.
Nineteen of the 22 indicted were arrested during a two day operation which began in Columbus last Friday and ended on Sunday.
Portsmouth Police Capt. Lynn Brewer said earlier this week that the leader of the drug operation would buy large amounts of heroin and split it up between his people in Columbus, who would then drive it to Portsmouth and sell it out of friend’s apartments and on the streets -- an operation that he says was rather larger.
“The street value of the drugs being brought in, they were selling it for a hundred dollars a gram,” Brewer said. “There were hundreds of grams seized and thousands of dollars in cash, along with personal property."
During the hearing Thursday morning in Scioto County Common Pleas Court, the six women and 11 men each pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. A pre-trial hearing for each is set for August 12.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.
Nineteen people were arrested between Friday and Sunday in Scioto and Franklin counties after they were found to be involved with trafficking drugs, mainly heroin, from Columbus, Ohio, to Portsmouth.
Portsmouth Police Capt. Lynn Brewer said there are a total of 22 people involved in the drug ring, some of them are suspected to be gang members of the 22nd Street or “Deuce Deuce” Bloods from Columbus.
Brewer said the leader of the drug operation would buy large amounts of heroin and split it up between his people in Columbus, who would then drive it to Portsmouth and sell it out of friend’s apartments and on the streets -- an operation that he says was rather larger.
“The street value of the drugs being brought in, they were selling it for a hundred dollars a gram,” Brewer said. “There were hundreds of grams seized and thousands of dollars in cash, along with personal property. "This is a significant operation and it made quite a dent in a large drug ring operation, operating from Columbus into the Portsmouth area.”
According to a release from the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force, 22 people were indicted for multiple felonies. All but three of those people are behind bars.
Law enforcement agencies are still looking for 31-year-old Kevin Hayden of Columbus, 33-year-old John Kullum II of Pickerington, Ohio and 29-year-old James Young Jr. of Portsmouth, Ohio.
Brewer said the dismantling of this drug ring will put a big dent in the drug problems in Portsmouth.
During a Monday afternoon press conference, Ware and Donini said the investigation began nearly 18 months ago in February 2013 and just ended with the Southern Ohio Drug Task and prosecutors presenting the case to a Scioto County Grand Jury.
As a result, 22 people were indicted, including members of the 22nd St. or “Deuce Deuce” Bloods gangs from Columbus, Ohio.
Each of the 22 faces charges of Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity, Trafficking in Heroin,and Conspiracy to Trafficking in Heroin.
During a two day operation, which began in Columbus on Friday and ended on Sunday, task force officers with the assistance of Columbus Police,Special Services Bureau, Portsmouth Police, and detectives from the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office arrested the following individuals:
Andre J. Gilliam, 28, of Columbus
Orlando Smith, 28, of Columbus
Keluan J. Skinner-Byrd, 19 of Columbus
Vernita S. Williams, 29, of Columbus
Brittanee M. Baker, 23, of Columbus
Darrin “Bert” Thompson, 43, of Portsmouth.
William L. Armbrister, 66, of Portsmouth
James D. Young Sr., 52, of Portsmouth
Carrie M. Young, 48, of Portsmouth
Patricia D. Charles, 42, of Portsmouth
Stephanie S. Nuckols, 34 of Portsmouth
Robert “Bo” Clemens, 58, of Portsmouth
The following people were already in jail on unrelated charges.
Thomas Smith, 26, of Columbus
Ronald E. Fields, 21, of Columbus
Courtney L. Anderson, 26, of Columbus
Jason J. Turner, 26, of Columbus
Troy A. Hines, 31, of Columbus
Charles E. Sadler, 32, of Portsmouth
Teresa G. Mosley, 43, of Portsmouth
Authorities are still looking for the following people:
Kelvin L. Hayden, 31, of Columbus
John W. Kullum II, 33, of Pickerington
James D. Young Jr., 29 of Portsmouth
Each of the people is being held without bond in Scioto County Common Pleas Court.
Anyone having information on the whereabouts of Hayden, Kullum II, or Young Jr. can contact the task force tip line at (740) 354-5656, the Portsmouth Police Dept. at (740) 353-4101, the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 354-7566.