Greensburg — The courthouse was unusually busy Thursday as clerks in both Decatur County Superior and Circuit Courts shuffled through file after file to prepare for the defendants. It seemed one after another, a person in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs walked into either courtroom to take the place of another one before them.
The hectic day at the courts was the result of 18-months of hard work by the Greensburg Police Department in conjunction with the Indiana State Police and the Columbus Police Department. The long investigation into local drug activity culminated Thursday morning in 13 arrests, 11 of which were from warrants filed by the Decatur County Prosecutor’s office.
Members of the GPD, Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, ISP, and CPD covered locations throughout Greensburg, the county and within Bartholomew County to net a king’s ransom of drug arrests. The 13 subjects have a plethora of felony charges - from dealing to delivery to conspiracy - stemming from 23 different events, according to a press release from the GPD. The drugs ranged from meth to cocaine to marijuana and illegally distributed prescription medication.
Both the GPD and the Prosecutor’s office are keeping details in each case basic and vague noting the investigations are ongoing. More charges could arise aside from the initial charges.
Each accused made an initial hearing before either Superior Court Judge Matthew Bailey or Circuit Court Judge John Westhafer. Bond ranged individually from $5,000 to $50,000
Those arrested were as follows: Raymond F. Benefiel, 24, two counts of delivery of a schedule II or III drug (morphine) and delivery of meth, all Class B felonies; David M. Lewis, 23, dealing marijuana (more than 30 grams), Class D felony; David M. Bowers, 25, four counts of dealing cocaine (more than 3 grams and/or within 1,000 feet of a school, housing complex or youth center), all Class A felonies; Kyle A. Land, 25, six counts of dealing schedule II or III drugs, all Class B felonies; Christopher J. Keillor, 34, delivery of marijuana, a Class C felony; John R. Yorn, Jr., 25, two counts of delivery of marijuana; both Class C felonies; Chadwick D. Lucas, 31, two counts of dealing a schedule II or III drug, both Class B felonies; Roy A. Hersley, dealing marijuana (more than 10 pounds and/or within 1,000 feet of a school, housing complex or youth center) and theft, a Class C and Class D felony, respectively; Dawn Roberts, 20, two counts of conspiracy to deal marijuana, a Class C and Class D felony; Kayla A. Roberts, 20, delivery of marijuana, a Class C felony; Matthew D. Lashley, 23, unlawful sale of a legend drug, unlawful dealing of a substance representing a schedule II or III drug, dealing marijuana, two Class D felonies and a Class A misdemeanor, respectively; Chelsea T.R. Lee, dealing marijuana (more than 10 pounds and/or within 1,000 feet of a school, housing complex or youth center) and maintaining a common nuisance, a Class C and Class D felony, respectively; and Hallie R. Irvin, 27, visiting a common nuisance, a Class B misdemeanor.
The widespread effort was the result of good solid team work, according to GPD Chief Brian Heaton.
“I commend everyone in the entire department for their efforts. It’s been a cooperative effort from beginning to end. Everyone involved, officers and dispatchers, did an outstanding job. Additionally, the partnership with the Decatur County Prosecutor’s Office, Indiana State Police Drug Enforcement Section and Columbus Police Department Narcotics Division has been exceptional,” Heaton said. “The cooperation of all agencies made this effort a huge success. We will continue to be proactive in our efforts of getting drugs and those responsible for them off the streets.”
Heaton added despite the level of commitment from agencies involved, he noted it likely wouldn’t have happened without the support of Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert and his administration behind them.
“Mayor Gary Herbert and his administration has been excellent in providing the support and resources we need to get drugs off our city streets. Without their support, we would not be able to be successful in this endeavor,” Heaton said.
Herbert applauded the city’s police force as well as all agencies involved. He said the administration would continue its support of the officers’ dedication to crack down on the drug trade within the city.
“We have some very dedicated detectives and investigators in this city. They put their heart and soul into stopping drug activity in Greensburg,” Herbert said. “We try to give them the tools to keep them on the level or ahead of the criminals and will continue to do so. This is taxpayer money, and I really believe we’re getting our money’s worth.”
The Mayor hoped Thursday’s arrests will serve as a message to the city’s youth who may be experimenting or thinking of using drugs. His hope is the younger generation can learn from this.
“If kids can see what happens to adults who mess with drugs in our city, then hopefully that will serve as a deterrent for them in the future,” Herbert said.
Heaton noted that above all, the GPD needs help from the community. Anyone suspecting drug activity can place an anonymous tip with the department by calling (812) 662-2743.