CLARKSVILLE, Ind. (WHAS11) – Thursday morning, the Clarksville Police Department held a press conference to release details about a seven-month long investigation into a large scale drug trafficking organization.
Clarksville Police Department Chief Col. Mark Palmer said the organization is responsible for bringing in over 2600 pounds of marijuana to the Southern Indiana area in the last 18 months. Police arrested four people locally and have another four pending warrants for individuals in California.
“When we looked at the amount of drugs that we were able to calculate that was coming in here, we’re looking at $5.5 million worth of marijuana that was actually being trafficked all the way from California here to Clark County,” Chief Palmer said. “This all stemmed for an officer on the street making a drug arrest,” Chief Palmer said. “It was a good size amount of drugs, but I think what really caught the attention was the packaging.”
That officer then alerted the Clarksville Police Department Narcotics Division, which has spent months working with agencies across the country on this case.
“This was a multi-agency involvement, everything from federal to local agencies. ATF of the federal side played a big part in this. Jeffersonville Police, Clarksville Police, Indiana State Police, Clark County Sheriff’s Department all played a hand in making this happen,” Chief Palmer said.
According to investigators, the network has been shipping the marijuana from California to Kentuckiana using next-day air. The four individuals with pending warrants in California would ship the drugs to local hotels, ranging from Columbus to Clarksville, Indiana. Police said they would either then come stay at those hotels or just pick the packages up from them before selling them to the four local individuals who have already been arrested in this case.
“A lot of these people do not have citizenship. Some of them do. They’re here on a work visa, and that’s also going to be looked at in reference to maybe that the trafficking might be coming from outside this country,” Chief Palmer said.
The investigation led police to search seven different homes in Indiana and Kentucky. Police said they confiscated more than a million dollars’ worth of cash and assets from those homes. Police arrested the four local individuals on Tuesday. They are facing multiple charges. Those include dealing marijuana over 10 pounds, possession of marijuana over 10 pounds, and corrupt business practices or racketeering. Police said federal charges could also be possible in this case.
Investigators also want to point out that this type of marijuana is the most potent of its kind. They said the THC in this particular type is 20-30 percent higher than most marijuana and much more addicting. They said it’s often the gateway drug for people who then start using heroin and other drugs.
“Definitely been a great find for Clarksville to bring this all to an end. We think this has made a significant hit in reference to shutting down some of the drug trafficking that we’re having here locally. I think what you’re going to see come out of this is reduction on the street,” Chief Palmer said. “It’s also a great boom for our narcotics division. They work really hard. To get something to this magnitude for them, it’s a trophy on the shelf. It really is.”
Chief Palmer said this network involves other states, and his department is working with others across the country to help put a stop to it.
“We also know that there are other areas that are receiving this. So, we’re actually reaching out to other agencies, asking them to get involved and do their own investigations in their own areas and hopefully stop the trafficking going on in their own locations,” Chief Palmer said.