MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) -- A Delaware County sheriff's deputy is facing several drug charges this week after Muncie police say he is responsible for assisting a family drug ring stretching from Muncie to Indianapolis.
Muncie police officers arrested Deputy Jerry Parks, 37, late Thursday evening at his home in the 4300 block of Glenwood Avenue. He is facing four charges: aiding, inducting or causing the dealing of heroin; aiding, inducting or causing the dealing of marijuana; attempted dealing of marijuana; and neglect of a dependent (x2). His wife, Bridgette Parks, also was arrested and charged with attempted dealing of marijuana and neglect of a dependent (x2).
The investigation started in March, according to Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle. The main target was Danny Terry, 33, the nephew of Deputy Parks.
"There was rumor of Deputy Parks maybe being involved with his family, Danny Terry and Derek Terry, who were also arrested at different times," Winkle said. "But nothing really to substantiate that until the arrests were made of Danny Terry."
According to an arrest affidavit, Danny Terry was arrested Sunday after a confidential informant had made several controlled drug deals with him. During that investigation, investigators report intercepting a call between Danny Terry and Deputy Jerry Parks, where Parks provided information about an undercover narcotics officer.
After Terry's arrest, Muncie police said he admitted to dealing drugs on multiple occasions with the help of his uncle Jerry Parks.
"The assistance amounted to providing information about undercover officers, providing information about narcotics surveillance methods, location of undercover officers," said Zach Craig, chief administrative deputy prosecutor for Delaware County. "That definitely stands a chance of putting those individuals in harm's way, which is definitely a main concern."
Parks' arrest affidavit also said Parks took possession of Terry's drugs for safekeeping during deals, had given Terry his Delaware County Sheriff's Office duty-issued service weapon for Terry's protection during deals, and had provided Terry with narcotics Parks obtained while performing his duties as a sheriff's deputy.
After his interview, Terry helped Muncie police obtain incriminating audio recordings of Parks, according to the arrest affidavit. Terry met Parks at Parks' residence, asking for help storing 12 pounds of marijuana. Parks' wife, Bridgette, stored the drugs in the trunk of her car while Terry obtained an audio recording of Deputy Parks discussing previous drug safekeeping favors. The affidavit notes Jerry Parks' children, a 6-year-old son and a 12-year-old daughter, were home at the time.
Muncie police obtained a search warrant and arrested Jerry and Bridgette Parks last Sunday night to the surprise of their neighbors.
"About midnight, I was woken up to bright lights in my house, my bedroom window, and I got up and looked out," said a neighbor who didn't want to be identified. "It was the EMS (emergency medical services) in front of my house. Police, sheriff. That was the last place I expected it to be, at the deputy sheriff's house."
The neighbor said she's always felt safe on her street.
"I got a deputy that lives right here and a Muncie police officer on the next street over. So I'm like surrounded by protectors. Or so I thought."
"Makes you sick to your stomach to think that one of ours was involved something like this," Muncie Police Chief Winkle said. "We do not think this should reflect poorly on the Delaware County Sheriff's Department."
Muncie police say Sheriff Ray Dudley learned about the situation hours before the raid, and was on scene for the arrest.
"We are all saddened by this recent turn of events as anytime a police officer disgraces himself it reflects negatively not only on his department, but on the entire law enforcement profession," Dudley said in a statement.
In all, the six-month multi-agency drug investigation has landed 19 people behind bars for their connection to the large narcotics operation stretching from Indianapolis to Muncie. Most were arrested through 14 search warrants earlier this week, according to Indiana State Police.
State police said the effort included the Muncie Police Department's narcotics unit, the prosecutor's offices in Delaware and Marion counties, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security investigations, state police special weapons and tactics, state policedrug enforcement investigators and state police troopers from the Indianapolis and Pendleton districts.
State police reported the seizure of:
- 1 pound of heroin.
- 5 ounces of methamphetamine.
- 20 grams of cocaine.
- 15 pounds of marijuana.
- $88,945 in suspected drug money.
- 7 handguns (one of which was stolen).
- 3 rifles.
- 1 shotgun.
The remaining 16 arrested suspects are listed below.
- Marcus Bennett, 37.
- Richelle Bennett, 39.
- Broderick Bullock, 33.
- Michael Campbell, 45.
- David Eads, 29.
- Anton Holland, 31.
- Letha Kersey, 34.
- Vera Kersey, 58.
- Dontae Lawrence, 19.
- Joseph Majko Jr., 63.
- Tara Martin, 30.
- Alysia Muir, 24.
- Cory Poore, 28.
- Jaquise Reed, 18.
- Buddy Rutar, 32.
- John Smith, 61.
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