Extensive, multiple-agency investigation leads to drug-related arrests of over 10 local residents

By Gary Scott on November 28, 2018 at 4:54pm

An extensive investigation, involving numerous law enforcement agencies over a lengthy period of time, culminated in at least 11 arrests yesterday.

According to Jacksonville Police, in what’s being referred to as “Operation Sleigh Bell,” agents from the Central Illinois Enforcement Group, Jacksonville Police Department, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Illinois State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted a detail that resulted in numerous arrest warrants being issued through the Morgan County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Jacksonville Police Chief Adam Mefford says the investigation has been ongoing for about the past year and has involved the work of a number of law enforcement agencies.

Mefford says Operation Sleigh Bell focused specifically on the more serious and dangerous types of narcotics such as methamphetamine, heroin and other controlled substances.

The Chief explains that the investigation was such an extensive one because the goal is to present the State’ Attorney’s Office with a legitimate case.

Jacksonville Police say that more arrests are being anticipated at this time, and that some of the individuals arrested could have more charges come down against them. Chief Mefford says that all of today’s arrests occurred in Jacksonville or around Morgan County.

Those arrested as part of Operation Sleigh Bell include: 25-year old Skee Sanders, Gerald Jackson, 31-year old Courtney Thomas, 52-year old Steven Cunningham, 49-year old Bryan Branch, 27-year old Alvis Berry, 59-year old Mike Hammers, all of whom were arrested on warrants. In addition, 19-year old Cory Stucker, 19-year old Evan Schlieker, 43-year old Tarus Johnson, and 37-year old Rhonda Spencer were all arrested as a result of additional probable cause.