By Dave Pearce
“I don’t know how much or how long it is going to take for people to realize that this type of activity will no longer be tolerated in Posey County,” said Posey County Prosecutor Travis Clowers, following this week’s arrest of six suspects, now in custody in the Posey County Jail after arrest warrants were served on Thursday, June 6. “We are going to keep fighting this for as long as it takes.”
Arrested in Mount Vernon are Cody and Jon Schmitt, Kyler Butler, Matthew Creek, Rex Baker, and Allison Ward as a result of drug investigations conducted in the county.
Shortly after 9 a.m., personnel of the Posey County Drug Task Force, the FBI, the Posey County Sheriff’s Department, the Mount Vernon Police Department and the Indiana State Police executed the arrest warrants. Ward was in Illinois but drug task force personnel were able to get her to travel to Posey County at which time she was taken into custody. Some of the wanted subjects were already incarcerated in the Posey County Jail, Vanderburgh County Jail and the Indiana Department of Corrections on other previous offenses.
The FBI used undercover informants to gather information about the suspects. They purchased drugs, provided sudafed and watched their every move. It was a methodical, investigation that officials hope will put away some key players for a very long time.
“We’re not finding the numbers, but a lot of our earlier raids have sent people off to prison and a lot of people who have been engaged in this type of activity are either leaving the county or stopping,” Clowers said. “We have an excellent team of local, state and federal law enforcement in place. They are aware of the problem we have here and are committed to making Posey County a better place to live.”
Authorities arrested Rex Baker outside his home, and inside found what they call a sophisticated meth lab.
“This culminates an eight month investigation, there are other cases along with this particular case that we are involved in and those are coming to a conclusion as well today,” said Posey County Sheriff Greg Oeth. “Neighbors on Second Street tell us they’ve called numerous times about Rex Baker’s home. They say they watch people coming in and out of the back alley all day and night.”
Officials want residents to know they receive tips almost daily, and they’re listening.
“I know that folks call and they think, ‘Well I called in last week and I haven’t seen any results,’” says Oeth. “We’re a very small operation and this is a very large county. The calls aren’t falling on deaf ears, every piece of information is useful to use and we’re going to respond to every bit to see if we can build a case out of it.”
The prosecutor says that because Baker’s home was so close to West Elementary School, the charges will be taken up a level. Now, those Class B felonies will become Class A felonies. Which means if convicted, 20-to-50 years in prison.
As a result of an undercover operation which began in June 2012 and conducted by the Posey County Drug Task Force and the FBI-Evansville Post of Duty, six subjects were arrested on drug related Posey County arrest warrants. The Posey County Drug Task Force and FBI conducted undercover drug buy operations beginning in June of last year resulting in the issuing of arrest warrants.
“The citizens of Posey County are sick and tired of the illegal drug activity in our communities and have continued to phone in tips to law enforcement. This cooperation between the public and law enforcement has helped law enforcement make major advances in addressing illegal drug activity especially over the last two to three years,” according to Posey County Narcotics unit supervisor Kenneth Rose. “As a result of this cooperation and the cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, we are making progress in combating this problem. The laws have been in place to attack this problem for some time and as long as we utilize those existing laws, we will continue to make progress in this battle to safeguard our communities.”
Arrested in the drug operation was Rex Baker age 53 of Mount Vernon on two counts of Dealing Methamphetamine, Class A and B felonies, Jon Brody Schmitt, age 23, also of Mount Vernon on two counts of Dealing Methamphetamine, Class A and B felonies along with charges of Neglect of Dependent and Maintaining a Common Nuisance. Cody B. Schmitt, age 20, also of Mount Vernon was arrested and charged with two counts of Dealing Methamphetamine, Class A and B felonies and Maintaining a Common Nuisance. Matthew D. Creek, age 23 of Evansville, was arrested and charged with Dealing Methamphetamine, a Class B felony, while Kyler D. Butler, age 23 of Mount Vernon was arrested and charged with two counts of Dealing Methamphetamine, Class A and B felonies and Allison N. Ward, age 22, of Eldorado, Ill., formerly of Mount Vernon was arrested on charges of Neglect of Dependent and Maintaining a Common Nuisance.
When arresting Rex Baker, officers discovered a clandestine meth lab in his residence. He was additionally charged with Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Class A felony, Possession of Precursors, Class C felony and Possession of Methamphetamine, Class A felony.