CIRCLEVILLE - A drug investigation seven months in the making culminated with the arrests of 22 people on Friday with four more being sought through active warrants from the Pickaway County Sheriff's Office.
Dubbed "Operation Lights Out," the effort focused on a particular family with a long history of criminal activity in Circleville and Pickaway County, according to Sheriff Robert Radcliff, who said he believes the current charges will put them in prison for a very long time.
Leslie "Alan" Crosby, 51, of Circleville, and his son, Nicholas Crosby, 25, of Chillicothe, were identified as the ringleaders of the organization, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who visited Circleville Friday afternoon to announce the indictments and arrests. Leslie Crosby's wife and daughter also are accused of taking part in the drug trafficking ring.
Those in custody facing the most serious charges are:
- Leslie "Alan" Crosby, 51, of Circleville
- Nicholas Crosby, 25, of Chillicothe
- Rhonda Crosby, 45, of Circleville
- Regina Crosby, 22, of Circleville
- Anthony Schwalbauch, 32, of Circleville
- Adam Boysel, 34, of Circleville
- Heather Boysel, 31, of Circleville
- Joseph McGraw, 44, of McDermott
- Nikki Herron, 30, of Circleville
Additionally, the following individuals in custody face lower-level charges of trafficking in heroin, trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin, possession of cocaine or aggravated possession of drugs:
- Joshua Cross, 34, of Circleville
- Tommy Edward Barnhart, 30, of Circleville
- Jesse Campfield, 28, of Circleville
- Carolyn DeLong, 37, of Circleville
- Erica Doty, 34, of Circleville
- Cameron Eby, 24, of Circleville
- Kathy Mills Giffin, 37, of Circleville
- Amanda Lowery, 29, of Circleville
- Tracy Metcalfe, 42, of Circleville
- Carre Perkins, 50, of Laurelville
- Ryan Wurtzel, 42, of Circleville
- James Rose, 41, of Circleville
- Bradley Stevens, 31, of Circleville
Radcliff said the effort not only netted local drug suspects, but at least two of the suspects still being sought - one Mexican national and one American citizen - are directly tied to a Mexican drug cartel supplying drugs into the United States.
Radcliff said Friday's operation is separate from the 72-person drug indictment in March of 2015, but these suspects stepped in to fill the vacuum left behind when those traffickers were taken off the streets.
The arrests also are tied to the execution of several search warrants in March of 2016 in which no arrests were made but investigators discovered an active meth lab on Pearl Avenue and seized property and evidence from an address on North Court Street.
DeWine said at a press conference Friday the successful anti-drug efforts in Pickaway County should send a strong message to drug traffickers throughout the state.
"It's a tribute to the leaders of this community that we have had four successful investigations that were ultimately successfully prosecuted," DeWine said. "It should tell the others we're not going to allow this to happen in Pickaway County. We're not going to put up with it."
Joining DeWine and Radcliff at Friday's press conference were Chief Shawn Baer, Circleville Police Department, and Jayme Fountain, assistant county prosecutor, and all admitted they know they cannot arrest their way out of the local drug problem.
Fountain said prosecutors will be looking at treatment options for some of the low-level offenders involved in this ring, but they have also been involved in criminal activity, and that cannot be ignored.
Friday's round-up included officers from the Pickaway County Sheriff's Office, Circleville Police Department, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the Ohio Attorney General's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Circleville Probation Department and the U.S. Route 23 Major Crimes Task Force.
Radcliff also thanked the Circleville Township Trustees for their support during the investigation.