GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) – A drug bust at a Greenwood motel has shed light on a persistent issue in the Johnson County town: drug deals in public places, specifically motels along the I-65 corridor.
“This was larger than anything we as an agency have ever encountered,” Greenwood Police Assistant Chief Matthew Fillenwarth said.
Greenwood officers declined to specify just how much money and drugs were seized. They also would not say how they were alerted to 40-year-old Dewayne Lewis and his presence at the Red Roof Inn near I-65 and Main Street.
“It’s not uncommon for people to set up shop next to an interstate, especially at a hotel,” Fillenwarth said. “At a hotel, you have a transient atmosphere, so people coming and going does not draw the attention like it would if you were doing that at your house in a neighborhood.”
Fillenwarth says they have had similar drug busts at the hotels that straddle I-65 in Greenwood in recent years, with the Indy metro area a stopover on the way to Chicago, which he calls the major drug distribution point in the Midwest.
“I-65 and I-70 are major corridors, [and] the majority of your illicit narcotics in this country come up I-65 and I-70,” Fillenwarth said.
Police also searched Lewis’ home, which they believe was not the focal point of selling activities, but rather a safe house.
“A lot of these drug deals, they will purposely set them up for public places, places where there’s people around, that way if they do get robbed, they’re less likely to get robbed,” he said.
Police say it’s hard to judge the impact of the bust on the drug trade through the whole area, but are hopeful it will have local impacts.
“With this guy not here in Greenwood, we don’t have his customers coming down to Greenwood, so we don’t have that unsavory element that’s going to be coming through there to buy his cocaine or whatever else he was selling,” Fillenwarth said.
Dewayne Lewis is out on $30,000 bond and faces a felony cocaine dealing charge, which is the recommended amount for that charge.
The seized drug money usually ends up in the state’s forfeiture fund and is distributed to the agencies that make these kinds of seizures. In Greenwood’s case, they use it to buy new equipment for officers. Most recently they used these seizure funds to acquire body cameras.