STEUBENVILLE - Area law enforcement officials said the arrest of seven men in a State Street house and the seizure of 50 grams of heroin put a "significant dent in the supply of heroin to local users."
But Jason Hanlin of the Jefferson County Drug Task Force said late Tuesday the work to stop heroin and other drugs from being brought into Steubenville is ongoing.
"The drug task force is well aware of a serious problem of heroin in the Tri-State Area. And we know the bulk of heroin is coming here from the Chicago area. And because the drugs are brought here we also have users and buyers coming into the city. We are going to send a message to people looking for drugs to stop coming to Steubenville because we are going to target the suppliers and the buyers," stated Hanlin.
ARRESTED — Steubenville Police officers prepared to transport three of the seven men arrested Tuesday morning on drug related charges to the Jefferson County jail. A drug raid at 1401 State St. resulted in seven arrests and the seizure of 50 grams of heroin and nearly $13,000 in cash. Placing the suspects in a police cruiser were, from left, Patrolman Jim Marquis, Capt. John Young and Capt. Joel Walker.
"We have to shut the heroin supply off so there is no temptation for buyers to come to our city looking for drugs," Hanlin added.
He noted the drug task force along with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force, federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation cooperated Tuesday morning in a drug raid at 1401 State St.
"We seized 50 grams of heroin, an ounce of marijuana and $12,500 in cash, along with various drug paraphernalia and other evidence during the raid," said Hanlin.
Law enforcement officers spent several hours in the house Tuesday searching for evidence after the seven suspects were taken to the Jefferson County jail.
The house is owned by Tracy Jovan McGowan, 31, who initially was charged with a single count of trafficking in drugs and permitting drug abuse.
Also arrested during the raid were;
Jessie O-Neil Birden, 20, 415 Union Ave., one count possession of heroin.
Grant Albert Coleman III, 31, Chicago, one count trafficking in drugs, one count of possession of heroin and one count tampering with evidence.
Raymond Franklin, 20, Chicago, one count trafficking in drugs.
Kinlawyed Hendrix, 25, 1307 Pennsylvania Ave., one count possession of heroin.
Terrance Cortez Jones, 20, Chicago, one count of possession of heroin.
Jovan Poe, 21, Chicago, one count tampering with evidence and one count possession of heroin.
"This was a good bust. We got a sizable amount of heroin," Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said at the scene.
"Four of the seven suspects arrested are from Chicago. We are going to continue sending a strong message to these dealers. Go back to Chicago or face prison in Jefferson County. We don't need Chicago drug dealers in Jefferson County," said Abdalla.
Steubenville Police Chief Bill McCafferty said the State Street house had been under surveillance for weeks as the months-long investigation continued.
"We knew there were several individuals in the house and we weren't sure what we would encounter when we made the raid. But the raid went smoothly, and we took a large amount of heroin off the streets," said McCafferty.
Law enforcement officials at the scene said at one point suspects were throwing plastic bags containing marijuana out of a second floor window.