CIRCLEVILLE - City police are investigating the death of a suspect connected to a local drug ring that saw 72 people indicted in March.
Rodney E. Evans, 47, was pronounced dead at his East Union Street home after officers were dispatched about 5:25 a.m. Wednesday, according to Sgt. Shawn Baer, acting chief of the Circleville Police Department.
Dr. John Ellis, Pickaway County Coroner, ordered an autopsy to be performed by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office, Baer said, but investigators believe the cause of death was suicide.
"It seems pretty clear, but because he was involved in such a high-profile case, we want to make sure we eliminate any other possibility," Baer said.
Evans was due in Pickaway County Common Pleas Court at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to enter a plea on three felony counts of trafficking in cocaine and three felony counts of trafficking in heroin.
He was one of six people out of the 72 indicted in March who were considered "middle management" of the drug ring described by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine as operating like a pizza business in Circleville. Those six were charged with trafficking in heroin and/or cocaine.
Eleven additional people were categorized as "upper management" and face state organized crime charges in the operation.
The remaining 55 people were considered the customers of the ring, each charged with possession of cocaine and/or heroin.
Dr. Ellis said the initial results of the autopsy could be available within the next few days, but a toxicology report will take at least eight weeks.