5 arrested in ELO bust that nets $4,000, drugs, firearms

EAST LIVERPOOL – Police recovered drugs, cash, scales and firearms Friday night after an observant officer noticed a man walking downtown who was known to have an active indictment against him.

Patrolman Fred Flati was on patrol when he noticed Jason Garland walking on Market Street and, knowing the indictment was pending, turned his cruiser around in an attempt to catch up with the man.

“He was nowhere to be found,” Flati said.

Then, Flati saw Garland run across Sixth Street to an apartment that he said is well-known to police for suspected drug activity. Garland ran up a set of steps, followed by Flati, who deployed his Taser, striking the suspect, who fell.

As Garland fell, he threw the bag he was carrying down the stairs, according to Flati, who said it was snatched up by a woman, Samantha Crawford, who had been walking with Garland when first seen by the officer. Crawford took off running with Flati pursuing her on foot.

Meanwhile, other officers joined the operation, including St. Clair Township K-9 team of Chris Davis and canine officer Axel.

Flati said when he apprehended Crawford, she threw the bag that she had retrieved at the apartment, and it was located by Axel. The bag contained suspected heroin, crack cocaine, powdered cocaine, marijuana, pills, $1,500 in cash and a firearm, according to Flati.

Officers Greg Smith, Chad Tatgenhorst, John Headley, Moose Ramsey and Capt. Darin Morgan surrounded the apartment building, which was searched, turning up more drugs and additional people who had outstanding warrants, according to Flati.

Garland had fled the area, but Tatgenhorst located him at a house on Sophia Street, where five additional firearms were seized, as well as cash, for a total of nearly $4,000. Garland was taken into custody on the outstanding indictment and also was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing official business. Flati said he could also face a charge of tampering with evidence, and once the items from the bag are tested, he could be indicted on drug-related charges.

Others taken into custody for outstanding warrants were Chelsea Baker, Reva McCullough and Jason McEldowney, as well as Crawford, who also could be facing additional charges in connection to last night’s activity.

Asked if this was a major drug operation, Flati said, “We definitely inconvenienced some people this weekend. Everybody worked great. It’s an awesome feeling when everybody works together.”

Ages and addresses of the suspects were not immediately available Friday night.