New Gallia, Meigs Drug Task Force Makes First Arrests

By: WSAZ News Staff, Andrew Colegrove Email
By: WSAZ News Staff, Andrew Colegrove Email

GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio Attorney General's Office, along with local law enforcement from Gallia and Meigs counties have announced a joint task force in an effort to fight drug abuse and trafficking in southeast Ohio.

Attorney General Mike Dewine Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning, Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood, Middleport Police Chief Bruce Swift, Gallipolis Police Chief Clinton Patterson, Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins, and Meigs County Prosecutor Colleen Williams announced the task force has already made two arrests.

The task force, Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission, arrested two people and seized cocaine, heroin and ecstasy at a Gallia County pool hall overnight.

Porter Mitchell, 38, of Gallipolis, and Michelle Walker, 36, of Rio Grande, were both arrested Tuesday morning after task force members served search warrants at P.J.'s Pool Hall and a neighboring residence on State Route 7 North in the Kanauga area.

Investigators say the pool hall was a front for an ongoing trafficking operation. They found more than 140 grams of powdered cocaine, 11 grams of heroin, and a small amount of ecstasy. More than $18,000 in cash was also seized.

Investigators say Mitchell ran the pool hall and lived next door.

Mandie Boster lives near the pool hall. She says it's unsettling finding out what was allegedly going on there.

"Having young kids, it's really shocking and disturbing," Boster said. "We find out drugs are being trafficked right beside our house."

Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning says this raid is evidence of what they can do when they share information and resources.

"This is the first of several investigations that are coming down the pike," Browning said.

"The Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission has the tools to help local law enforcement agencies fight crimes that cross county or state lines," said Attorney General DeWine. "Drug abuse is an issue in every corner of the state, and this is a great example of agencies working together in the fight against drugs."

"This case shows that the combined efforts of law enforcement working together in southeast Ohio can help put a dent in the drug trafficking that is fueling thefts and burglaries," said Gallia County Sheriff Browning. "We appreciate the assistance of our neighboring jurisdictions in the task force, and we will have future arrests as a result of the ongoing investigations they are conducting."

"Drugs are an ongoing problem in southeast Ohio, and now with the assistance of OOCIC we have the resources and the manpower to be even more aggressive against the people bringing these substances into our communities," said Meigs County Sheriff Wood.

Mitchell and Walker were both arrested on possession of drugs and possession of heroin charges. More charges could be filed.

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