Accused ringleader of Columbiana County drug ring appears in court

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LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Seven people who investigators say are part of Columbiana County’s largest drug ring went in front of a judge on Thursday.

Nine people were arrested as part of a 51-count indictment, charged with dealing cocaine and heroin.

“It’s the single-most important drug trafficking indictment we’ve ever brought,” said Columbiana County Assistant Prosecutor John Gamble.

Tiona Jones, 34, was named by investigators as the ringleader.  The Warren woman pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges on Thursday and remains in the Columbiana County Jail on $1 million bond.

The others also pleaded not guilty of the charges against them.

Gamble said the group was involved in a number of violent crimes related to the drug dealing. The investigation against the group took two years to complete.

“They made themselves a target by virtue of the level of violence that they were beginning to bring to the city of Salem,” he said.

But will the arrests take a bite out of the heroin epidemic?

“We’re not going to turn a blind eye, and the chief of police and the Salem Police Department aren’t going to turn a blind eye to the stuff that goes on there,” Gamble said.

Gable says his office will continue going after the dealers getting rich off selling heroin.

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