Sting operation and surveillance lead to major heroin, fentanyl bust in Forest Park

Sting operation and surveillance lead to major heroin, fentanyl bust in Forest Park
Posted at 3:32 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-22 15:33:12-04

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio -- The death of a 17-year-old in April ended with a major heroin and fentanyl bust in Hamilton County, the product of a sting operation by state police.

At the conclusion of Ohio's Bureau of Criminal Investigation report, Michael Chandler, 28, is charged with possession of Schedule I and Schedule II drugs with the intent to distribute.

On April 20, a 17-year-old identified as "J.H." was found dead in his Campbell County home. The coroner determined his cause of death was a fentanyl overdose, according to court documents.

The Kentucky Drug Task Force found out the teen had bought heroin from a person called "Goldie." When investigators obtained the phone number for the alleged drug dealer, a records search led them to Chandler, court documents said.

Investigators used a friend of the deceased teen, identified as "C.S.I.", to make a controlled purchase from "Goldie," also known as Chandler, police said. He wore a wire and gave the purchased substance to the Hamilton County Coroner's crime lab. The substance was identified as fentanyl.

In early May, police had "C.S.I." make another controlled purchase. On May 16, police conducted a third controlled purchase; this time, "C.S.I." went inside a residence with the dealer, according to the affidavit. "C.S.I." was wearing a wire and camera, and he was able to record Chandler, Joseph Kilgore and another man putting a white powder substance into plastic bags.

Police then tailed Chandler's car, a rental, through town. After installing a GPS on his cars, police tracked him driving and stopping in Clifton, Springdale and Forest Park.

After a few days of surveillance, police were granted permission to tap Chandler's phones. They were also granted a search warrant for the Clifton apartment where Chandler frequently visited. Drugs were found in the apartment, along with stolen guns and drug processing material. 

Chandler was arrested and charged with two felonies.

Hamilton County now has 10 investigators assigned to tracking down area drug dealers.

“We’re spending resources to try to get law enforcement together with people who are dealing with people on the treatment side of things and figuring out how we can cross over,” Hamilton County Commissioner Dennis Deters said.

Tonight, Hamilton County officials will meet at the Anderson Center at 6 p.m. for a regional heroin forum.