TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Seven Terre Haute residents and one Brazil man were among 15 people arrested last week on federal drug trafficking related charges.

“Today’s arrest was a huge win,” said United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler.

Minkler and other federal officials held a press conference Thursday at the Terre Haute Police Department to announce the arrests that he said are tied to two drug trafficking organizations in which methamphetamine and marijuana were brought into Terre Haute and Muncie from California.

Full press conference:

Those arrested were:

  • Tavares Hutcherson, 42, of Terre Haute
  • Timothy Stefanatos, 40, of Indianapolis
  • Brock Mathews, 29, of Terre Haute
  • Deena Roshel, 52, of Terre Haute
  • Kyra Grindle, 19, of Terre Haute
  • Brad W. Jones, 35 of Indianapolis
  • Travis Eyre, 30, of Terre Haute
  • Robert Cox, 33, of Terre Haute
  • Zachary Carson, 25, of Terre Haute
  • James Briscoe, 36, Muncie
  • Damarus Page, 37, of Anderson
  • Bradley Clephane, 35, of Gosport
  • Christopher Bays of Brazil
  • Jamar Pugh of Muncie
  • James Bell of Muncie

The investigation, which spanned over six months, turned up 23 pounds of methamphetamine, which officials say is worth approximately $250,000. Fifteen firearms were also seized, which officials say shows intent for violence if needed during drug-trafficking operations.

How many drug-trafficking organizations are structured:

DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Gannon says it’s not unusual for members of one drug-trafficking organization to be spread out through several different cities.

“Drug traffickers live in every community and they have relationships with other friends or other associates, and what they try to do is they just try to get clients and what they’ll do is they’ll prey on people that have those substance abuse needs or issues,” said Gannon.

Minkler says prosecuting drug addicts is not the goal in these investigations, but rather those making money off of selling the drugs. He added that the main goal is to keep communities from the violence and addiction that comes with drugs like the highly pure forms of methamphetamine seized in these cases.

“Today, the streets of these communities are safer than they were six months ago,” Minkler said.

How the landscape of meth distribution has changed in recent years:

Minkler and Gannon both commended the Terre Haute Police Department, the Indiana State Police, the Vigo County Drug Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office for their help with the case, saying the goal is to make Southern Indiana “the most inhospitable place to sell drugs”.

Minkler added that in order to accomplish that goal, there must be continued action in order to deter criminals.

“If we don’t continue, this win will mean nothing,” said Minkler.

According to Assistant United States Attorney M. Kendra Klump, who is prosecuting these cases for the government, defendants, if convicted, each face up to life in prison, except for Grindle, who faces up to 40 years in prison.