Fairfield County Sheriff's Office deputies Aug. 30 arrested two suspected drug dealers and confiscated about 760 balloons of heroin worth an estimated $8,000 on the streets.
Members of the sheriff's Street Crime Reduction and Apprehension Program, also called "SCRAP," initiated the stop of a 2004 Ford Escape at 5:51 p.m. on Saylor Road, north of Stemen Road, about a mile outside Pickerington city limits.
Arrested were Samuel Granados, 31, of 9036 Lupine Drive in Reynoldsburg; and Victor Adame Tovar, 29, of Columbus.
Both men were each charged with one count of trafficking in drugs and one count of possession of drugs, felonies of the first degree, deputies said.
Sept. 7, both Granados and Tovar were indicted by the Fairfield County Grand Jury on the original charges.
Their cases have been assigned to the Fairfield County Common Pleas Court. The men remain in the Fairfield County Jail awaiting a trial date.
Lt. Tim Voris of the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office said the SCRAP unit received intelligence information that the men were using the vehicle to transport drugs throughout Fairfield County.
"We were conducting an investigation into narcotics in that area and we observed a vehicle that (has been) involved in the transport of narcotics in the county," Voris said.
"It was an investigative stop and while we were searching the car we found seven ounces of heroin along with roughly $700 in cash," he said, adding the vehicle and cash were seized as part of the arrest.
Voris said the heroin was found inside a caulking tube located on the back seat of the vehicle. He said traffickers commonly utilize caulking guns as a mode of concealment for heroin.
"The significance of the caulking gun is that it gives (off) a similar odor as heroin, so it's used during transport. It's kind of got that vinegary odor similar to the heroin (manufacturing) process," Voris said.
Granados and Tovar appeared at their respective arraignment hearings in Fairfield County Municipal Court on Aug. 31 whereupon bail for each man was set at $500,000 cash or surety bond.
Voris said SCRAP is a five-member specialized unit that specifically targets drug activity at the street-level throughout Fairfield County.
He said it differs from the Fairfield-Hocking Major Crimes Unit in that SCRAP immediately addresses drug tips provided by residents while the Major Crimes Unit focuses on extensive investigations of mid-to upper level narcotic, gang and violent offenders.
"The major crimes unit is a significant, long-term investment of resources,"Voris said.
"We're going directly to those locations where there is drug activity to immediately stop the flow of drugs."
He said the program, initiated in the summer of 2011, has been a tremendous success in taking a pro-active approach in dealing with the severe drug epidemic that continues to afflict Fairfield County.
"These guys are doing a great job," Voris said.
"We're going from place to place, following up on leads. We're working everywhere.
"Pickerington has given us an officer to use and the Lan caster (Police Department) has given us an officer to work on our team," he said.
"We're all going to do our dead-level best to stop the narcotics from coming into the county."
Voris said the unit can't do it's job, however, without the assistance of area residents who report suspected drug activity
"Anyone getting information is encouraged to call the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office at 740-652-7911."