Five people were arrested in Plymouth last week for dealing drugs as undercover officers targeted two motels there.
Both of the motels offer weekly rates and police say the majority of the suspects were living in one motel or the other on a semi-permanent basis.
So how did the motels get on the radar of police?
Last September, the death of two year old Serenity Wilson occurred in a room at the Economy Inn. The infant was allegedly battered to death by her mother’s boyfriend who sought to punish the child for bed wetting. The tragic incident apparently inspired others to tell police what was really going on at the Economy Inn, and the Red Rock Inn in terms of illegal drug activity.
“There were some drug stuff that was kind of indicating also during that (Serenity Wilson) investigation and we had received complaints along with the Plymouth Police Department, numerous complaints of drug activity and different things going on,” said Master Trooper Jason Faulstich with the Indiana State Police Bremen Post.
Faulstich estimates that 20 to 30 children routinely board morning school busses between the two motels. “Some of the complaints that were coming in was they were becoming more and more bold about the drug trafficking just doing it out in broad daylight in the parking lot type stuff. We wanted to make a point that we’re not going to tolerate it."
Police say 28-year-old Alex Bradke was arrested in his room at the Economy Inn and charged with dealing and possession of methamphetamine.
Four people were arrested at the Red Rock Inn. Rhonda S. Harlan, 37, and her husband Wayne E. Harlan, 44, of Plymouth, were taken into custody and charged with possession of methamphetamine, dealing methamphetamine, and maintaining a common nuisance.
Jordan C.W. Kilgore, 29, of Plymouth, was arrested for dealing marijuana. Stephen Wood, 25, of North Judson was arrested on an outstanding warrant through St. Joseph County.
Earlier last week, four more individuals were arrested as part of the same investigation. 26 year old Travis Norman of Bunker HIll was booked for dealing methamphetamine and 22 year old Marcel Pulluaim of Rochester for possession of marijuana. 29 year old Brandon Davidson and 21 year old Dorsie Cooper of LaPorte were both arrested for possession of meth and other charges.
Officers did not find evidence that meth was being manufactured at either motel, although they did say that an undercover buy involved something called “ice,” a crystalized-more potent form of meth.
“Our goal was to try to slow down the drug trade within those motels. To try to make a safer environment for the children that are living there because there are people living there, they just, they’re, they just don’t have a place. They’re good citizens, they’re not into the drug activity, they have kids so we wanted to make an impact,” said Faulstich.