GREENFIELD, Ind. — Five people are facing charges after police in Greenfield say they busted open a drug dealing operation that stretched into Marion County.
Amanda Zurwell, Christopher Mize, Diana Holbrook and James Shearer have all been arrested and are facing numerous charges including dealing in methamphetamine, dealing in narcotics, corrupt business influence and criminal gang activity, police said. Another woman, Mary Helsley, is facing similar charges but has not been arrested yet.
Greenfield Police Chief Brian Hartman said the investigation started after a series of overdoses and narcotics arrests at the end of 2021.
“Through those overdoses and narcotics arrests we came across a certain baggie that the narcotics was in,” Hartman said. “And it just happened to appear at all the arrests and all the overdoses.”
That was followed by another series of overdoses in early March. Police found the same baggies, all with the same emblem on the outside.
“The investigators started putting everything together, backtracking it and then going forward and was like there’s more than one person involved here,” Hartman said.
According to court documents, police later stopped Shearer in Greenfield. In his car, police said they found 36 grams of fentanyl and baggies with the emblem on them.
Police began monitoring phone calls and money transfers. Some of those calls included calls made by inmates in the Hancock County Jail and those communications helped police discover the extent of the drug dealing operation.
“Jail phone calls, cash apps, cell phone downloads, text messages. That is a lot of the ways that these investigations come out,” Chief Hartman said. “Everyone communicates and they think they communicate and it’s not being tracked. It’s always able to be tracked.”
After interviews with overdose victims and a confidential informant, police began surveilling an apartment in the back of a church in the 6000 block of East Washington Street, according to court documents.
Over seven days of surveillance investigators said they witnessed 56 visitors to the apartment. Most of them lasted less than five minutes.
On April 25, police raided the apartment and arrested Mize and Zurwell. Holbrook was arrested four days later.
Chief Hartman said this is only a dent in Greenfield’s drug problem, but it’s an important step forward.
“We’re going to have to continue to fight. Continue to try and keep it off the streets,” Hartman said. “But to get this batch off, with the amount of people that were overdosing in the short amount of time, is a big win for the city of Greenfield.”
Hartman said his officers are still looking for Helsley. The other defendants are expected to appear in court this week.