Home News Arraignments set for Monday in 72-person indictment

Arraignments set for Monday in 72-person indictment


Trish Bennett, Editor

Sgt. Shawn Baer, acting chief of the Circleville Police Department, discusses the investigation and roundup of suspects at a press conference Wednesday.

CIRCLEVILLE – Thirteen suspects allegedly involved in a heroin ring from Columbus to Circleville were still at large late Friday afternoon in an ongoing effort to round up 72 people indicted last week by the Pickaway County Grand Jury.

According to the Circleville Police Department web site, 59 of the 72 indicted have currently been arrested or accounted for.

Fifty suspects were already in custody at the time of a 1 p.m. press conference Wednesday when Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine gathered with local officials at the Circleville Police Station to announce the indictments and arrests.

DeWine said the upper and middle management of the ring had been selling heroin in Pickaway County like a pizza delivery business, setting up shop in various homes, taking orders by phone and delivering the drugs to buyers throughout the area.

The indictments were the result of an eight-month investigation initiated by Chief Wayne Gray and conducted by the Circleville Police Department and the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office with the support of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the Ohio Attorney General’s Heroin Unit.

Additional arrests after Wednesday’s press conference include:

1. Billie Jo Thompson, 38, of Circleville, charged with two counts of possession of cocaine
2. Betsy Vangundy, 22, of Circleville, charged with three counts of trafficking in cocaine and two counts of trafficking in heroin
3. Heath Rowland, 26, of Circleville, charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of possession of cocaine
4. Pam Swift, 44, of Lancaster, charged with five counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of trafficking in heroin
5. Melaine Lambiase, 26, of Circleville, charged with two counts of possession of heroin
6. Carla Riffle, 42, of Circleville, charged with two counts of possession of heroin
7. Doris Riffle, 81, of Circleville, charged with one count of permitting drug abuse with vehicle forfeiture
8. Elisa Leasure, 41, of Circleville, charged with two counts of trafficking in heroin
9. Kendra Queen, 25, of Circleville, charged with two counts of possession of heroin

At least four additional suspects were arrested during the roundup for probation violations or outstanding warrants but are not part of the 72-person indictment.

More than half of those arrested have bonded out of jail and are awaiting arraignment in Pickaway County Common Pleas Court. Arraignments are usually held each Wednesday at the court, but due to the number of suspects involved, a special session of Common Pleas Court will be held Monday to process their cases.

Those who have already bonded out of jail will be arraigned at 9:30 a.m. Monday. Those who remain in jail will be arraigned at 1 p.m. Monday.

“That’s more than double the number of cases that are usually heard in Common Pleas Court in a day,” said Judy Wolford, Pickaway County Prosecutor. “On a big day, we’ll handle 30 cases, so this is a huge deal.”

The names of the remaining suspects have not yet been released pending their arrests.

The 50 original suspects’ names were released Wednesday as follows:

Charged with Trafficking in Heroin, Trafficking in Cocaine and Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activity:

1. Michael Binkley II, 33, of Circleville
2. Jessica Dodge, 34, of Circleville
3. Dejon Dunning, 27, of Lancaster
4. Nicole Grambo, 35, of Circleville
5. David Caslin, 44, of Columbus

Charged with Trafficking in Heroin and Trafficking in Cocaine:

1. Rodney Evans, 46, of Circleville
2. Arnold Pennington Jr., 35, of Circleville
3. Lindsey Pyle, 20, of Circleville

Charged with Possession of Heroin and/or Possession of Cocaine:

1. Mary Barton, 22, of Circleville
2. Julia Boyer, 45, of Circleville
3. Terri Byrd, 24, of Circleville
4. Donald Cassady, 44, of Orient
5. Mallory Cordell, 20, of Circleville
6. Elyse Craig, 25, of Circleville
7. Joshua Cross, 33, of Circleville
8. Roger Derr, 40, of Circleville
9. Gwen Draise, 37, of Stoutsville
10. Sherri Evans, 45, of Circleville
11. Dustin Fausnaugh, 25, of Circleville
12. Daniel Ferry, 54, of Williamsport
13. Amy Frazier, 36, of Circleville
14. Harold David Hamilton, 60, of Clarksburg
15. Kenneth Hardman, 40, of Circleville
16. Rhonda Hardman, 42, of Circleville
17. John F. Hill, 49, of Circleville
18. Thomas B. Hunt, 47, of Circleville
19. Christina Jenkins, 34, of Circleville
20. Jason Johnston, 36, of Circleville
21. Tyler Johnson, 23, of Circleville
22. Travis Kellough, 24, of Circleville
23. Jason Lambert, 41, of Circleville
24. Nicole Leasure, 39, of Circleville
25. Bobby Lowery, 39, of Circleville
26. Cody McKibben, 24, of Circleville
27. Rusti Neff, 28, of Circleville
28. Tim Neff Jr., 35, of Circleville
29. Brian Parmer, 34, of Circleville
30. Michelle Parmer, 34, of Circleville
31. Jaime Pennington, 38, of Circleville
32. Carre Perkins, 49, of Laurelville
33. Jessica Quito, 31, of Circleville
34. Philip Reichelderfer, 32, of Circleville
35. Renee Rittenhouse, 32, of Circleville
36. Shannon Schwalbauch, 40, of Circleville
37. Laurie Smith, 38, of Circleville
38. Terra Smith, 38, of Circleville
39. Tamera Thornton, 55, of Circleville
40. Mary Walker, 50, of Circleville
41. James Williams, 60, of Circleville
42. Cassandra Young, 34, of Williamsport

This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal