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A two-day enforcement initiative in Auglaize and Mercer counties netted nine felony arrests — including two drug arrests in Wapakoneta resulting in men receiving $1 million bonds — and more than $20,000 in drugs seized.
Seven local law enforcement agencies joined the Ohio State Highway Patrol in its Operation Shield program targeting traffic safety and criminal activity in the two-county area on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Wapakoneta Post Commander Lt. Scott Carrico told the Wapakoneta Daily News this morning that through their efforts, local officers seized 538 illegal prescription pills worth $5,115, 168 grams of crack cocaine worth $16,000, 4 grams of marijuana, and $7,020 in cash. They made 418 traffic stops resulting in 206 arrests, of which seven were for operating a motor vehicle without a valid license and one for impaired driving. Officers also made one arrest on a felony warrant.
“Operation Shield brings all law enforcement agencies together,” Carrico said. “It brings a variety of different resources together in one place.”
Concentrating on areas with high numbers of traffic crashes and known criminal activities in the two counties, Carrico said
they focused on Interstate 75, U.S. Route 33, Ohio 29 and U.S. 127.
“We looked for the usual traffic crash causing violations — speeding, following too closely, failure to yield — and indicators of criminal activity for drug couriers, scrap metal thieves and felony warrants,” Carrico said. “We were not looking for one specific thing.”
Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon also released details this morning of two drug arrests made by the Auglaize and Mercer Grand Lake Drug Task Force, which evolved from information received through Operation Shield.
“This shows a cooperation between all law enforcement in the county,” Solomon said. “We are trying to make a difference. We may not win the war but we are winning a lot of battles and we need to keep pushing.”
The arrests resulted from an undercover drug buy in the Bellefontaine Street and Interstate 75 area of Wapakoneta between 12:30 and 1 a.m. Thursday.
Solomon said a substantial amount of crack cocaine and a small amount of suspected powder cocaine were seized, with more than 100 grams of drugs, with a street value of approximately $5,000, seized as a result of the arrests.
Travarus D. Thompson, 26, and Shannon T. Scott, 41, both of Lima, were arrested. They are being held in the Auglaize County Jail on $1 million bonds with a 10 percent cash provision. Thompson is charged with aggravated trafficking and obstructing official business and Scott was charged with aggravated trafficking.
A female with them was taken into custody, but later released pending further investigation.
The incident remains under investigation.
Solomon and Carrico credited their collaborative efforts for making a dent in local crimes.
Solomon said the hope is that through the trafffic stops law enforcement officers may obtain other information leading them to additional arrests.
“I think we were successful in doing that with this effort,” Solomon said. “We continue to fight drugs in our county and we are going to continue to fight those bringing drugs into the county and keep coming at them in different ways.”
Agencies participating in the state’s enforcement initiative included the Sheriff’s Office, Wapakoneta, St. Marys, Cridersville Waynesfield, Buckland and Celina police departments.