Text to the wrong number leads to drug arrests

Many have been guilty of sending a text message to the wrong person. But, that mistake may have some major consequences for one Knox man.

When Starke County Deputy Jeremiah Patrick changed his cell phone number, he started getting some interesting messages.

"Apparently, they had mistaken me for someone else," Patrick said.

He began writing back to the messages. The interactions led him to believe something was off. So, he held back from revealing his own identity.

Turns out the message sender, who was trying to live outside the law, was giving clues directly to the people who enforce it.

"They don't make it this easy this often," Patrick said. "So, it was nice."

The deputy kept typing away and the sender's motivation soon became clear.

"There were some pictures that were sent to my phone via text of the drugs," Patrick said. "And, I had replied back as to what their intentions were, they wanted to make a buy with me."

Patrick played along and set up a buy to take place at the Knox post office, just down the street from the Knox police station.

Tony Clemons pulled into the parking lot at around noon Tuesday, but there was no "client" in sight.

"The detectives went under cover at that location, stood by and waited for someone to arrive," Patrick said.

Officers eventually arrested Clemons and found him in possession of meth.

His arrest led to police getting a search warrant for a home on the 1500 block of 300 East in Knox, Ind.

They uncovered a marijuana grow operation at the residence and arrested three others.

Justin Back, Kyle Clemons and Mitchell Thompson were taken in to custody and face preliminary charges for possession of marijuana and dealing.

Since Tuesday, Patrick's cell phone has been beeping a lot less.

"I think they have learned their lesson at this point," he said. "I don't think they'll be texting my phone anymore."

Patrick said he turned over the text message conversation and photos to detectives.


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