18 arrested in drug bust, police chief credits grant program

AUSTIN, Ind. (WDRB) -- A big drug sweep in Scott County puts 18 people behind bars, and the police department is crediting a county program for making it happen.

Although Austin Police did all the leg work, Police Chief Donald Spicer says a large group of drug dealers and users were taken off the street last week thanks to state mandated county program.

Police arrested 18 people from two separate locations in Austin last Wednesday. The arrests were related to the use and sale of methamphetamine and the prescription pill Opana.

The first search warrant was served at a house in the 200 block of S. 6th Street. Police say they've made past arrests at the home where they found drugs, paraphernalia, and money Wednesday.

"We found multiple needles, narcotics, different types of prescription pills, methamphetamine, Opana, on and on and on with the drugs," said Spicer. "Every room was contaminated with some type of drug paraphernalia."

Police made 15 arrests at the house on S. 6th Street. Patricia Jean Tyree, 62, and her daughters Kayla Tyree, 26, and Shannon Tyree age 39, were arrested, along with Benji Stotts, 42, Morgan Riley, 20, Billy Holt, 33, Jordan Pastrick, 20, Timothy Eberthauser, 22, Eric Howard, 24, Jonathan Sizemore, 23, Jessi Mcintosh, 21, Darrell Polly, 24, Linda Polly, 21, Savanna Mikesell, 23, and Kimberly Johnson, 41.

Only two-and-a-half hours after serving the search warrant on S. 6th Street, police moved to a home in the 900 block of N. 1st Street. Inside the home they found prescription pills, methamphetamine, marijuana, large amounts of cash, and drug paraphernalia.

Upon serving the search warrant at the home, Mary Whitfield, 43, Robert Couch, 30, and David White, 32 were taken into custody.

Spicer credits the drug sweep to a grant from CEASe (Coalition to Eliminate the Abuse of Substances in Scott County).

CEASe is the result of a 1989 decision by the Indiana General Assembly to create anti-drug coalitions in every county. CEASe funds come from drug and alcohol fines collected by the courts.

"Our police departments, our sheriff's department don't have a lot of money and so the money we are able to give back is huge for them," said CEASe coordinator Lori Croasdell.

Austin Police was one of multiple agencies that received a grant from CEASE this year.

The $2,500 allowed the department to purchase surveillance equipment and pay overtime to officers that work a drug investigation.

Spicer says Wednesday's bust wouldn't have been possible without the extra money.

"Every dime counts, especially when it comes to law enforcement," said Spicer.

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