Salem drug distribution network hit with 51-count indictment

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SALEM, Ohio (WYTV) – Police and prosecutors are calling it the biggest drug case they have seen in Columbiana County.

The Columbiana County Prosecutor’s Office and Salem Police announced a 51-count indictment against a significant heroin and cocaine distribution network that had been operating in Salem for the last three years.

They said the gang, led by Tiona Jones, controlled the heroin trade in the Salem area for a number of years.The Columbiana County Prosecutor's Office and Salem Police announced a 51-count indictment against a significant heroin and cocaine distribution network that had been operating in Salem for the last three years.

The two offices began the investigation beginning in the summer of 2014 when police started hearing other street dealers, and even drug addicts, were being intimated and threatened by gang members, most of whom were based in Warren.

“If you didn’t pay, they were coming after you. There were assaults occurring. We had reports of robberies of rival drug dealers, obviously some of those weren’t reported to us and where it came to us was third-party. Yeah, this was a very vicious organization,” said Salem Police Chief J.T. Panezott.

The indictment includes charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, money laundering, trafficking in drugs, felonious assault, intimidating a witness, breaking and entering, aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence.

Charged are Antonio Torres, Malcolm Gilford, Tina Taylor, Bradley Deatley, Susan Jones, Vincent McGary, Marvin Harsch, Selena Pruitt and Tiona Jones.

“We had dozens and dozens of tips from just residents, as well as thousands of hours involved by our investigators,” said Columbiana County Assistant Prosecutor John Gamble.

Although seven of the suspects, including Jones and her grandmother Selena Pruitt, have been arrested, prosecutors say the other two were already in prison on other charges at the time.

All are expected in court in this case next month.