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Sheriffs In Ohio Disagree Over Criminal Gang Warning

Sheriffs in the neighboring counties of Pike and Scioto disagreed over “criminal gang” activity that was allegedly headed to the southern part of Ohio.

The dispute was carried out over social media by Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader and Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini. The disagreement started over an unusual Facebook post made by Reader who warned that the alleged “gang members” were on their way to Pike and neighboring counties to kill the people they believed to be snitches. 

Reader’s Facebook post warned that the international criminal gang known as MS-13, as well as the Konvicted Family gang, planned to spread “HOTSHOTS” of heavily laced heroin that could cause “an extremely large amount of overdoses.”

However, Sherriff Donini’s department disagreed with Reader’s claims and issued a Facebook post in response. The post said, “As the result of meeting with narcotics officers assigned to the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force, Sheriff Donini … would like to emphasize to the residents of Scioto County that there is ‘absolutely’ no credible evidence to corroborate the truth to this rumor!”

Reader’s department replied with the following post, “The Scioto County Sheriff’s Office was NOT involved in the execution of the search warrants in Pike County nor any interviews conducted by the law enforcement agencies that were a part of the investigation. Scioto County would NOT have the information that we obtained in aggressively attacking the drug epidemic in Pike County. I’m sure they stay busy enough in Scioto County.”

Donini’s message told the public to “be responsible and to refrain from circulating ‘unverified’ facts and to do so simply fuels hysteria and pandemonium within our community.”

The two county sheriff’s departments have worked together on past operations, but different drug task forces serve each of the counties. The Southern Ohio Drug Task Force serves Scioto County. This task force also serves the FBI, the Portsmouth Police Department, Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, and the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office. The U.S. 23 Pipeline Drug Task Force serves Pike County, as well as Fayette, Highland, Pickaway, and Ross counties.

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