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“Police, open up!”
“Keep your hands where we can see them!”
These two phrases greeted a Dry Ridge man and a couple when they were rousted out of their apartments around 4:45 a.m. on July 9 after an undercover sting at a Dry Ridge factory netted five drug-related arrests.
Deputies with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, troopers with the Kentucky State Police and Dry Ridge Police Chief Rick Kells served the arrest warrants before dawn following a five-week investigation at Dana Corporation.
Grant County Sheriff Chuck Dills said officials at Dana, a manufacturer of axles and auto parts, approached him in late May after the company had received calls from employee’s families about possible drug transactions and drug use.
Dills said his office had received similar calls over the past year, but hadn’t been able to verify the complaints.
Dills met with Dana executives and planned a strategy, which included sending a new hire at the sheriff’s office into the plant undercover as an employee.
“We had just hired Tony Stigers from Carroll County and he had previous experience in narcotics so we made the decision for him to work undercover at Dana,” Dills said.
Stigers began working on the plant’s assembly line but was moved to a janitorial position to allow him more access inside the facility.
“Within the first week, he began to identify possible drug transactions inside the plant as well as outside in the parking lot during employee breaks,” Dills said.
Dills said only top executives at Dana were aware of Stigers identity.
“This was for safety reasons. The less number of who were aware then the more success we would have,” Dills said.
Those charged Monday include:
• Jesse Deaton, 31, of Dry Ridge – charged with trafficking in a controlled substance first degree.
• Larry Cox, 24, of Cordova – charged with three counts of trafficking in a controlled substance first degree.
• James Lindsey, 30, of Dry Ridge – charged with trafficking in a controlled substance first degree.
• Michelle Lindsey, 43, of Dry Ridge – complicity to traffic a controlled substance.
• Crystal J. Flores, 35, of Williamstown – trafficking in a controlled substance first degree.
Police also went to the Dana plant on Monday afternoon and interviewed six employees that Stigers identified as having used drugs while working.
Dills said those individuals were given a drug test on site and placed on suspension awaiting the results of the drug tests.
“All of those individuals admitted to us that they either used narcotics at the plant or prior to going to work,” Dills said.
Dills said the operation went smoothly.
We accomplished what we wanted by getting people who are selling drugs off the street and Dana, which as a zero tolerance for drug use, accomplished their main goal to provide a safe workplace,” Dills said.
Dills was quick to give credit to Dana for contacting him.
“It’s unusual for a business to come to us, but the work they do at that facility, well, pills and that type of work don’t mix,” Dills said. “If it weren’t for Dana’s cooperation we could never have done what we did in such a short time.”
Those arrested on Monday were lodged in the Grant County Detention Center.