Updated Sun, Jul 20, 2014 3:45 pm
The alleged roles of a former Chauncey police chief and other players in a Glouster drug ring were spelled out in a search warrant executed by law enforcement.
Investigators from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office shed light on the work they did to arrest five people on racketeering charges in what was called one of the largest drug rings in Athens County history.
The search warrant was on the Kempton Drive residence of Charles “Chuck” Wachenschwanz, a former Chauncey police chief and village marshal who was arrested in June and charged in connection with a drug ring in Glouster.
In the warrant, Tom McKnight requested materials that would allegedly connect Wachenschwanz to a “criminal enterprise,” including cell phones, computers, hard drives, 47 “cultivated marijuana plants”, Xanax and other prescription medication, according to the warrant and inventory list from the seizure.
Wachenschwanz was called the “protector of the criminal enterprise” by investigators, who said they believed there was a “risk of serious physical harm to the law enforcement officers or other authorized individuals” executing the search warrant if they entered without consent of Wachenschwanz.
The alleged enterprise was discovered after investigators worked with a confidential informant who said he would make drug buys from two people indicted in a drug roundup conducted in May.
One of those two people was named by Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn as the “number two” man in the drug ring, John Casey Metcalf, according to previous Messenger reporting.
The informant told investigators that he could and did purchase prescription pills from Metcalf three times. Metcalf was allegedly armed during the undercover drug buys, but the firearm has not been located by law enforcement, according to the warrant.
After Metcalf’s phone was seized through a separate search warrant, text messages were found referring to “Uncle D,” identified as Derek Gyure in the warrant.
McKnight went on to allege that Gyure is “the main supplier of pills in an illegal criminal enterprise that includes Metcalf,” and requested a warrant to recover evidence showing that Gyure is “Uncle D” and to find evidence of the drug trafficking enterprise.
After Metcalf was arrested on May 1, investigators discussed with him the possibility that he become an informant to buy pills from Gyure. He was given two days to think about it and put in jail in the meantime, but was never used as an informant, according to the search warrant.
Athens County Sheriff’s Office deputies received information on May 5 that Gyure allegedly traveled to Chicago once a month to pick up “a large amount of pills and return back to Athens County and distributes the pills,” McKnight wrote in the affidavit for the warrant.
“This information is similar to the confidential informant of the (prosecutor’s office) who said that Gyure picks up pills in Detroit,” McKnight wrote.
Gyure was arrested on May 5, allegedly possessing more than 1,000 Oxycodone pills.
“Multiple unconnected sources who have been proven to be reliable say the (pills) came from Michigan,” McKnight wrote.
Text messages shown to be between Gyure’s phone and a Michigan-based phone show “discussions of a sale of over 3,000 pills.”
On the day Gyure was arrested, investigators stated it appeared that Gyure was traveling to Wachenschwanz’s home to allegedly hide drugs and money.
There were other text messages that allegedly showed Gyure was “in business” with Bert C. Sharrer, who allegedly conducted two drug sales with an undercover informant for the sheriff’s office.
Sharrer agreed to speak to investigators on June 28, after he was arrested, and “outlined this organization of selling the pills,” McKnight wrote.
“Sharrer stated that Derek Gyure supplied him with pills to sell to other people and his cost from Gyure was $28 a pill,” according to the warrant.
Gyure would then allegedly sell the pills for $35. Sharrer said he traveled to Michigan “at least once” while Gyure allegedly purchased pills.
“(Bert) Sharrer stated that Casey Metcalf was equal to him in the organization and Casey would get about 50 pills a day to sell,” the warrant stated.
Both Sharrer and Metcalf have since taken plea deals, agreeing to testify truthfully in the case. Sharrer received a 10-year sentence and Metcalf received an eight-year prison sentence in the agreements.
Bert Sharrer, Jr., has also pleaded guilty to aggravated trafficking and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity in connection to the ring but has not yet been sentenced.
Investigators listened to jail calls between Gyure and other individuals in which Gyure referred to an individual named “Chuck” and made reference to having character witnesses at his trial and getting the name of a good attorney, according to the warrant.
“He thought Chuck may be helpful because he used to be a sheriff deputy,” McKnight wrote.
Chuck, later identified as Wachenschwanz, was a reserve deputy with the sheriff’s office in 2001 while he worked as police chief and village marshal in Chauncey. He was suspended from the police department that same year for allegedly failing to follow up in investigations. The Chauncey Police Department was later disbanded.
According to Interim Sheriff Rodney Smith, Wachenschwanz has not been a reserve deputy for several years.
Kendra Sharrer, who is also charged in connection with the drug ring, was allegedly heard in a jail call with Gyure saying she had hid the “book,” which investigators believe is a ledger book. She was indicted on one count of tampering with evidence along with drug and racketeering charges.
Bert C. Sharrer said the man identified as Chuck “had a contact in the Athens County Sheriff’s Office and would give information to (Gyure),” according to the warrant. Friday, Smith said he is aware of the information and is looking into the matter.
A man who spoke to investigators and was named as an “unindicted co-conspirator” said “Chuck” dealt “Xanax bars” and would trade the bars for pills, McKnight wrote.
“(Gyure) portrayed to (the individual) that ‘Chuck’ could provide protection to the criminal organization,” the warrant stated.
Both Kendra Sharrer and Gyure have jury trials scheduled for September and remain incarcerated in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.