Dayton Police seek 37 indicted for drug charges after undercover buys
DAYTON, RHEA COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Late Wednesday morning, Ruth Ann Finch, 40, would find herself rousted from her apartment, in the Taylor Hills housing project, and into Dayton Police custody.
"Thank you, sir," she tells the officer, before he closes the cruiser door.
Police picked her up on an indictment for 'casual exchange,' legal parlance for possessing marijuana. Rhea County Jail records reveal Finch was arrested on misdemeanor drug charges only last month, involving a legend drug and drug paraphernalia.
Finch is but one of 37 suspects Dayton Police are trying to arrest after a seven-month undercover investigation yielded indictments on almost 100 charges.
"We've bought everything from marijuana, meth and cocaine, to various prescription pills," Police Chief Chris Sneed says.
"It is frustrating at times, dealing with the same folks over and over," Sneed says.
Before noon Wednesday, the round-up had netted $1269 in cash from one suspect.
"Some of it just laying out on the living room table," Chief Sneed says. "They talk about how much money they make. But now they're in jail and we're seizing cars, money, and property."
Not so long ago, state statutes and federal drug laws enabled such round-ups to pay for themselves. Assets, forfeited by their links to illegal activity would, when cashed out, go back to whichever law enforcement agency seized them.
"That's very important for us to be able to get that money back," Chief Sneed says. "To be able to continue these operations."
It's one of the many reasons that specialist Robert Slatton, of the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, is swabbing the cash. Drug residue could tie it directly to the suspect and to his alleged crimes.
All of it goes back to trying to 'break the cycle.'
"Some of them come and do their time and some of it's very little," Chief Sneed says. "But they come in and do their time and they're out on the street doing basically the same thing."
Chief Sneed doesn't bite, when Eyewitness News asks who or what he blames for that veritable revolving door.
Rather, he insists, his officers will keep trying to make a dent.
"Hopefully, one of these days they (the dealers) catch on," he says. "You know that it's not gonna work."
As of late Wednesday afternoon, Dayton Police have nabbed 17 of the 37 people they've indicted.
Chief Sneed says many suspects have moved since the evidence was gathered.
His officers will keep checking their last known addresses, trying to get them in custody.