Six-month investigation leads to drug raid

SALEM – Drug agents and police seized more than $6,000 worth of cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana from an East Fourth Street apartment Tuesday morning after executing a search warrant based on a six-month investigation.

Columbiana County Drug Task Force Director Lt. Brian McLaughlin, also of the Sheriff’s Office, said he’s expecting drug charges to be presented to the county grand jury for consideration against the resident, whom he described as a mid-level dealer.

Lee Webb, 53, of 284 E. Fourth St., 2W, was home when the search warrant was served. He was charged with a third-degree felony of having weapons under disability for allegedly being in possession of a shotgun. Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott said he’s not permitted to have a gun in his possession due to a previous felony conviction.

DTF agents, with assistance from Salem Police, the Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration, recovered a 12-gauge shotgun, more than $2,500 cash and some drug paraphernalia from the apartment besides the drugs. McLaughlin said the drug paraphernalia included spoons containing residue and scales.

“I’m very pleased with the way today went,” he said.

McLaughlin said they had been working on the case about six months based on tips that dealing had been occurring out of the resident’s previous home on Third Street and he had just moved to the apartment on Fourth Street where there were also reports about dealing.

According to the county Clerk of Courts website, Webb was sentenced to prison for more than a year and a half in 2006 after pleading guilty in county Common Pleas Court to charges of trafficking in cocaine and possession of drugs.