Thursday, November 12, 2015

Torture allegations put rural Ohio town's drug epidemic back in the spotlight

Allegations of torture have once again cast a negative light on the drug epidemic in rural Chillicothe, Ohio (Best Places map). In the town of only 21,000 residents, drug overdoses more than doubled from 2013 to 2014, and increased prostitution has led to six cases of women disappearing in the past 18 months, all of them addicts. Now, a man has told police that this summer he was terrorized for several hours "in retaliation for stealing thousands of dollars in drugs," John Caniglia reports for The Plain Dealer.

Arthur Hamlin said convicted drug dealer Earnest Moore III and others "seared him with red-hot kitchen utensils, poured boiling water on him and pummeled him, according to a police report," Caniglia writes. Moore, who some have suggested is involved in the disappearances of the six women, denied the torture allegations. A resident who declined to give her name told Caniglia, "It was vicious and terrible and something that you hear about in a Third World country, not in Chillicothe, Ohio. I'm scared, and I'm ready to move.''

Moore, who has a long history of drug infractions, is largely believed to be behind the town's drug woes, Caniglia writes. He was incarcerated from 1995 to 2000 for drug abuse and attempted abduction and from 2007 to 2011 for cocaine trafficking. His current business "appeared to take root in 2014 in Gallia County, one of Ohio's smallest and poorest." Located 60 miles southeast of Chillicothe, Gallia County county is part of a region that has battled a heroin plague for years. Charges against Moore in 2014 in Gallia County were dismissed so that a federal case could be made. Investigators have called Moore "a 'person of interest,' in a general way, in the peddling of drugs and the sex trafficking of women in Chillicothe." Moore is being held on the torture charges in lieu of a $750,000 bond. (Read more)

No comments: