Upper Arlington News

UA police, task force bust drug lab


Local police and a Franklin County task force arrested two people last week after discovering an alleged drug lab on Ridgecliff Road.

Trent Starr, 24, of 1810 Ridgecliff Road, is slated to appear at a preliminary hearing in Franklin County Municipal Court on a second-degree felony charge of the illegal manufacture of drugs on Friday, March 22.

He was arrested March 12 after Upper Arlington police and members of the Franklin County Drug Task Force allegedly found morphine and Xanax powder inside Starr's home following "several" reports of a strong chemical odor coming from the residence.

According to Upper Arlington Police Detective Keith Hall, officers went to Starr's home and when he answered his door, they observed the suspected drugs and laboratory equipment, such as drug ledgers, glass vials and tubes, in plain view in the kitchen.

Police detained Starr and a 21-year-old Dublin man at the residence, and obtained a warrant to search the home.

Once inside, Hall said, police and task force members determined Starr's home was being used to dilute Xanax powder -- a form of a prescription drug commonly used to treat depression, panic disorders and anxiety -- by means of a chemical process so it could be injected into gumdrops or other "gummy" candies.

Additionally, Hall said, morphine was being reduced into a liquid and combined with other chemicals to make synthetic heroin.

He said "gummies" such as those Starr was believed to be manufacturing, frequently are sold via the Internet or on the street. However, he said local police haven't seen that form of the drug being circulated in Upper Arlington.

"It's the first time I've come across this type of operation," Hall said. "Arlington is not a hotbed for that type of activity.

"I don't have an idea where they were distributing the drugs to. The investigation continues."

Starr was taken to Franklin County jail following his arrest. According to Franklin County Municipal Court records, he posted a $2,500 bond March 14.

If he is convicted, the charge carries a possible prison sentence of two to eight years.

The 21-year-old was charged with one count of possession of drug abuse instruments, a second-degree misdemeanor punishable up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.

Hall said the Dublin man was released with a summons to appear in municipal court on the misdemeanor charge.