HUNTSVILLE — In police lingo, “10-4” means everything is okay. It’s the universal term of acknowledgement, part of the ten-code used by law enforcement and others on radio bands.
But if Friday’s Operation 10-4 conducted by the Scott County Sheriff’s Office is any indication, everything is not okay in the local community — not when it comes to the proliference of drug trafficking.
The special operation — carried out on Friday, October 4, or 10-4 — was confirmaton of another sort: the illicit drug trade is prevalent throughout Scott County.
Operation 10-4 began in the early hours Friday, when Scott County Sheriff Ronnie Phillips and Drug Agents Kris Lewallen and Tyler Johnson led a force that included a number of Sheriff’s Department deputies and Oneida Police Department’s Toby Jeffers, who is assigned to the 8th Judicial District Drug Task Force.
The operation targeted 54 people — a lengthy list of people throughout Scott County who had allegedly sold narcotics to a confidential informant working on behalf of local law enforcement, or were wanted on charges of possessing methamphetamine or narcotics.
The investigation centered on neighborhoods that have been identfied as problem areas. By the end of the day on Friday, a total of 26 people had been arrested by officers.
“I want the citizens to know that when they call and report drug activity, they can rest assured we investigate it immediately,” Sheriff Phillips said. “We may not do something that day but we will start working on it and when the time comes we will make an arrest. Some drug information takes time to investigate so we can make sure we have the solid evidence we need to prosecute these cases.”
Lewallen provided a list of names of suspects who had been arrested as of Monday. Dates of birth and specific charges were not given.
Among those arrested were Matt Muse, Wade Allen, Tanner Strunk, Chad Strunk, Escoe Henson, Matthew Lawson, Michael Corbit, Troy Pike, Mary Foster, Nathan Fuston, April Brown, Misty Cresap, Derek Byrge, Jesse Lowe, Kriesty Marlar, Arvil Bell, Paula Owens, Warren Foster, Jared Draughn, Lyhue Crowley, Latimer Lowe, Brian Duncan, Jennifer Walker, Paul James, Kevin Franklin, Caleb James Bell and Vernon Trosper.
Additionally, Lewallen said several more suspects are still being sought, including: Dwight Bowling, Paul Underwood, Trevor Terry, Derek Byrd, Will Barnes, Jeanette Cox, Matt Anderson, Dustin Silcox, Eric Taylor, Charles Moore, Tom Anderson, Beth Hamlin, Charlie Conaster, Mark Strunk, Elizabeth Stephens, Katie Lang, James Anthony Phillips, Mary Lay, Timmy Gibson, Jamie Brown, Everett Hamlin, Nicholas Spoljoric, Jeremiah Cox, Casey Cox, Malina Welter, Tonya Lowe and Justin Parriman.
It should be noted that some of the suspects have the same name as other members of the community who have not been accused of a crime.
The sheriff said that a majority of all crimes against persns — such as aggravated burglary and theft of property — are usually related to a narcotic addiction, “so we take it very serious.”