Authorities bust major drug operation

By Frank Lewis

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Forty firearms, many loaded with ammunition, $20,000 in cash and $10,000 worth of drugs were confiscated in a raid pulled off by the Lawrence Drug and Major Crimes Task Force and other agencies Wednesday.

Arrested were David “Rick” Bowles, 60, and Charlotte Bowles, 55, both of South Point, Ohio. Rick Bowles is facing three counts of trafficking in drugs, felony 5 and one count of trafficking in drugs, felony 2. Charlotte Bowles is charged with 1 count of complicity to trafficking in drugs, a second degree felony.

Also arrested was Christopher L. Ferris, 32, of South Point, on outstanding warrants. All three were transported to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said at around 6 p.m. the task force, officers of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and the Coal Grove Police K9 unit executed a drug search warrant at the Bowles residence on Middle Leatherwood Road in South Point. The warrant was obtained from a series of controlled buys of the schedule I synthetic drug Alpha PVP by the task force and the sheriff’s office.

Lawless said during the search, deputies and investigators discovered approximately 40 grams of Alpha PVP with an approximate street value of $10,000, several digital scales, packaging materials for the drugs, approximately $20,000 in cash and approximately 40 firearms ranging from handguns to assault rifles with many of them being loaded with ammunition.

Lawless said the search also revealed packing slips and order forms from China for suspected Alpha PVP orders. At the same time, several cellular phones, computers and tablets were collected as evidence for further processing by the Ohio Bureau of Investigation and Identification.

Later Wednesday evening, James P. Bowles was arrested for trafficking in drugs in connection with that investigation. A deputy arrested Bowles near the residence and Lawless said, during the arrest Bowles resisted and fought the deputy. He said citizens passing along the roadway on County Road 55 stopped and assisted the deputy. Bowles was reportedly found to have a baggie with Aplha PVP and devices for smoking the drug. James Bowles faces charges of trafficking in drugs, possession of drugs and resisting arrest.

Lawless said authorities have been investigating the Bowles family and their residence for approximately a year and they said Rick Bowles is the main supplier/distributor of Alpha PVP in Lawrence County.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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