A handful of individuals recently arrested in a string of methamphetamine-related busts are among 18 people indicted in the May session of a Highland County grand jury on Tuesday.
Richard Baker, 41, and Tiffany Bennett, 28, both of Greenfield, have each been charged with first-degree felony illegal manufacture of drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile, second-degree felony illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile, and three counts of third-degree felony endangering children.
Baker and Bennett were arrested in early April after the Greenfield Police Department was called to a South Street residence to assist Highland County Children Services in a follow up on children in the home. As previously reported, officers smelled a strong odor of chemicals at the door of the residence, and a subsequent permitted search of the residence turned up methamphetamine-related items, several one-pot meth cookers, and finished methamphetamine.
It was something that GPD Acting Chief Jeremiah Oyer called at the time a “fairly good-sized meth operation.”
As previously reported, three children were in the home at the time police discovered the items, and four were at school. All seven have been removed from the home.
Also indicted on Tuesday were Tara Ralph, 42, and Jerry Lee Beatty, 48, both of Greenfield. They were arrested in April along with Anna F. Reffitt, 27, Hillsboro, after a traffic stop in Hillsboro led to the discovery of an active one-pot meth lab in the vehicle, and in the presence of “a small juvenile child,” according to a press release from the Hillsboro Police Department at the time.
Information learned during the investigation led GPD to Ralph’s Greenfield home where meth-making items were allegedly located.
Ralph is charged with third-degree felony illegal assembly. Reffitt is charged with illegal assembly in the vicinity of a juvenile, a second-degree felony, and with third-degree felony endangering children. Beatty is charged with first-degree felony illegal manufacture of drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile, second-degree felony illegal assembly in the vicinity of a juvenile, and third-degree felony endangering children.
On another matter, a “superseding indictment” was filed on Tuesday to correct that Vernon Barstal Ellison Jr., 45, Hillsboro, had in March been charged under the incorrect Ohio Revised Code, according to Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins.
Two months ago, Ellison was charged with two counts of first-degree felony rape and 15 counts of fourth-degree felony pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor. The new document issued on Tuesday changes the latter charges to fourth-degree felony pandering obscenity charges involving a minor.
The following individuals were also indicted on Tuesday:
• Anthony T. Cox, 26, Sinking Spring, charged with third-degree felony attempted burglary;
• David Elliott, 29, Hillsboro, charged with fifth-degree felony nonsupport;
• Charlie M. Davis, 25, Hillsboro, charged with aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony;
• Anthony Dean Gonter, 30, Hillsboro, charged with third-degree felony endangering children;
• Ernie Ray Haskill, 35, Hillsboro, charged with two fifth-degree felony counts of trafficking in a counterfeit controlled substance, and two fourth-degree felony counts of aggravated trafficking in methamphetamine;
• Donald L. McKenzie, 39, Hillsboro, charged with third-degree felony illegal assembly;
• Katelyn N. Webb, 21, Hillsboro, charged with third-degree felony illegal assembly;
• Carla M. Everhart, 47, Greenfield, charged with second-degree felony illegal manufacture of drugs, and third-degree felony illegal assembly;
• Debra A. Jenkins, 47, Highland, charged with second-degree felony illegal manufacture of drugs, and third-degree felony illegal assembly;
• Joshua K. Renchen, 38, Peebles, charged with aggravated trafficking in meth, a fourth-degree felony, and aggravated possession of meth, a fifth-degree felony;
• Dawn Hall, 38, Hillsboro, charged with three counts of fourth-degree felony aggravated trafficking in drugs, three counts of fifth-degree felony aggravated possession of drugs, and three counts of fifth-degree felony trafficking in heroin;
• Leonard Roger Hannah Jr., 51, Hillsboro, charged with two counts of gross sexual imposition, both third-degree felonies.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.