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Gary Police announce drug busts, tout decline in homicides

The third party review of Indiana law enforcement policies and procedures was prepared by the private firm Hillard Heintze, which has also worked with police in Louisville, Colorado and Illinois. (Justin Hicks/IPB News)
Justin Hicks
/
IPB News

Gary police have announced a pair of major drug busts.

Last Tuesday, officers executed a search warrant in the 6300 block of Harrison Street in Merrillville, in connection with drugs that had been supplied to customers in Gary. John Ebler Jr. was charged with two felony counts of dealing in cocaine.

Then last Wednesday, police served another warrant at a house in the 5100 block of Ohio Court in Gary. There, Investigative Services Commander Jack Hamady says SWAT team members found 13 firearms, more than $12,000, crack cocaine and 42 grams of heroin. Ronald Jeffries Jr. was charged with nine counts, including dealing in a narcotic drug.

"As the SWAT was making entry into the residents, he was cooking the crack cocaine in the kitchen area," Hamady explained during a press conference Wednesday. "He tried to discard the crack cocaine and flush it. He threw some heroin up on a cabinet."

He said an officer had to be given Narcan as a precaution, after the bag of heroin opened as he tried to pull it down.

Hamady is hopeful that cracking down on major drug trafficking operations is helping to lead to fewer overdoses. "When we compare our stats from 2023, we had 34 overdoses, year-to-date, and we had 12 deaths," Hamady said. "In 2024, we lowered that to 23 overdoses with only five deaths."

He said the proper use of overdose reversal medication Narcan also plays a role.

Hamady said the Gary Police Department is seeing success in other areas, as well. Homicides are down 71-percent, year-to-date, from last year, while gunshot wounds dropped slightly from 27 to 26.

"But I always say, if we could save one life, one life is worth saving," Hamady added.

During Wednesday's press conference, Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter says he plans to place a senior prosecutor in the Gary police station, at the request of Police Chief Derrick Cannon.