EAST PALESTINE Over three days last week village police officers arrested seven people on drug-related charges and narcotics and drug paraphernalia were taken from two homes.
Chief Kevin Dickey said the individuals were taken in custody without incident and that the department had planned the drug interdiction details over several weeks.
He did not wish to release any names until the investigation is completed. He anticipates more drug charges or indictments to be forthcoming.
In a press release issued this week he said one person was arrested on an outstanding warrant through the county municipal court, while two others were charged with possession of marijuana. One person was charged with possession of K-2, or "Spice," which is a synthetic marijuana that mimics the effects of cocaine and LSD and was only recently made illegal. It could formerly be found in convenience stores and smoke shops and was typically marketed as herbal incense or bath salts.
It is not uncommon for users to become sick from taking the drug, as thousands of cases have been reported across the nation. Some people have even died from using the drug.
Dickey said it is the third instance in which the drug has been found in the village. The first case was made known to the department as a result of the user having a bad reaction to the drug and the EMS was called.
The previous two cases were before the drug was illegal, he added.
Other arrests by officers during the drug interdiction were for drug paraphernalia and one charge is pending for illegal possession of prescription pills, according to the release.
Dickey also said in the release that Toney, the department's newly acquired K-9, was utilized nine times over a 48-hour period.
"Combating drug activity in the community is a priority for the police department. This is the first of what will be many pro-active, drug specific, initiatives in the future," he said.
He also said the department will work with other law enforcement agencies to address the problem and that anyone wishing to report drug activity should call the police department at 330-426-4341.
Officers also charged one person with OVI and issued several traffic citations during 40 traffic stops over the 48-hour period last week.