Athens' most wanted arrested in drug bust

Officials arrested 13 drug dealers this week, including Athens' most wanted criminal, during the massive drug bust known as Operation Busted Balloon, the county sheriff said yesterday.

Sheriff Pat Kelly said he has searched for Raymond Dawson, 31, of 16155 Main St., Millfield, since he took office, calling Dawson Athens' number-one drug dealer.

(He is) considered by me to be the number-one drug dealer in Athens County because he was dealing more drugs and destroying more lives than any other person in our county

Kelly said.

Kelly described Dawson, also known as 40

as very elusive
very well-protected and a dangerous person. Dawson was charged with aggravated drug trafficking yesterday, Kelly said.<BR><BR> Dawson was found guilty of aggravated possession of drugs in 2007 and sentenced to 11 months in prison. His criminal record also includes numerous misdemeanor convictions, including aggravated menacing and aggravated trespass. A grand jury indicted Dawson for felony assault in 2005, but the charge was dismissed.<BR><BR>Our society is much better off with him behind bars
Kelly said.<BR><BR>Dawson's arrest completes the sheriff's top 10 list of most wanted criminals in the county. The top 10 includes only nine people, Kelly said, adding he leaves the last space open so other drug dealers can wonder if they will be arrested next.<BR><BR> It's good to have them off of the streets
Kelly said.<BR><BR>Dawson's younger brother, Ramone Dawson, also known as 20
was also arrested yesterday by the Hocking College Police Department after the department received information from concerned people
Detective Jerry Hallowell said.<BR><BR>Kelly said he expects to arrest more drug dealers within the next few days. <BR><BR>Busted Balloon began in May, when state agents began watching the dealers. Officers later obtained 18 arrest or search warrants. State and local officials moved in Wednesday, arresting more than 10 heroin dealers in their homes.<BR><BR>Officers also arrested Melinda Dunlevy, 42, of 16155 Main St., Millfield; Christopher Clark, 19, of Lot 41 Pine Aire Village; and Frank Christman, 57, of 8531 Bethel Hill Road, Glouster. <BR><BR>Hallowell said the operation could lead to more arrests.<BR><BR>I was contacted by our tipline today
and they are getting overwhelmed by calls now
which can do nothing but help with the situation
Hallowell said.<BR><BR>Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail Warden Jeremy Tolson said he didn't know how many of the 13 are in his lockup.<BR><BR>There's 188 people up here. A very high percentage of those people are going to be <BR><BR>alcohol- or drug-related
Tolson said.<BR><BR> The goal, Kelly said, is to lock up all heroin dealers.<BR><BR>My intentions are to see every one of them go to prison

The Post | 325 Baker University Center | Athens, Ohio 45701

Newsroom: (740) 593-4011 | Front Desk: (740) 593-4010 | Advertising: (740) 593-4018 | Fax: (740) 593-0561 | E-mail:

Surf New Media