Sheriff stands by deputies in raid dispute

Howard expects Norwalk resident to be charged once test results come back on seized drugs.
Cary Ashby
Apr 1, 2014

Authorities said they gathered information during a highly contested drug-related search warrant which led to the arrest of a mother and son on secret indictments.

The Huron County Sheriff’s Office went to John Collins’ apartment at 114 1/2 Benedict Ave. to use a drug-related search warrant March 25.

Collins has said he’s been a law-abiding citizen for the last four to five years and contends deputies had no reason to break down his door and handcuff him.

Sheriff Dane Howard gave the Reflector his perspective of the incident Monday.

“It’s clear my detectives acted in accordance with the law and executed the search warrant (appropriately),” the sheriff said. “The deputies acted properly and there was no misconduct and it’s as simple as that.”

Howard said the warrant clearly listed that deputies were seeking drug paraphernalia and “all the chatter and rumors” about deputies going to the wrong residence simply isn’t true.

“I don’t think that in my 30 years as a law-enforcement officer that anybody is happy about executing a search warrant and (officers) taking their drugs,” Howard added.

Ultimately, Collins wasn’t arrested, but he provided information that led to his next-door neighbors being arrested.

“That information came out of the use of the search warrant,” Howard said.

Howard said the warrant clearly listed that deputies were seeking drug paraphernalia. He said his officers found some suspected items, which Collins said "was for his drug abuse." The sheriff expects Collins to be charged once the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation tests the evidence.

Chief Deputy Ted Patrick said detectives had probable cause there was "drug activity taking place" at Collins' apartment and suspected drug abusers had been "going in and out" of there.

Patrick explained what led to using the search warrant at Collins’ apartment and how deputies can use information to make warrant-related arrests — even though they don’t have the indictments with them at the time.

Generally when using search warrants, deputies secure everyone who is present for officers’ safety until they can figure out where the suspects and any possible weapons are, Patrick said.

“Drugs and guns go hand in hand,” he added. “When we confirm everyone is safe, … then we release them.

"There’s nothing wrong with the search warrant,” Patrick said, referring to the raid. “That’s the only search warrant we had.”

Deputies asked Collins if he knew who else lives in the three-apartment complex. Patrick said when Collins mentioned Thomas Papp and his mother Patricia live on the other side of him, that reminded one of the detectives that one of the Papps was wanted on a secret indictment.

“They let us in the home. One of them was arrested,” Patrick said about the Papps.

Thomas M. Papp, 34, of 114 Benedict Ave., is charged with trafficking in oxycodone in connection with a Sept. 9, 2012 incident. His mother faces a similar felony stemming from a July 8, 2012 offense. They have been released on bond.

When deputies ran the names of the other occupants of the Papp residence March 25, they determined either the mother or her son was wanted on a warrant, Patrick said.

“We didn’t know who lived next door until Collins told us. … Through Collins, we learned where the Papps lived,” he continued.

Patricia Papp and another one of her sons, Timothy, told the Reflector deputies didn’t have a warrant when they made the arrests. Patricia Papp also said authorities should know where she lives since she’s been there for eight years.

“They didn’t have the secret indictments on them. … They’re supposed to have the warrants on them,” she said.

“Because they messed up, they had to make an arrest,” her son added.

Patrick said it’s not necessary to have a warrant in hand when arresting a suspect.

“All you have to have is knowledge of a warrant,” Patrick said. “I don’t have to have that in hand. … It happens every day.”

The sheriff’s spokesman used the example of an officer knowing a certain person is wanted on a warrant. Patrick said the officer then can use that knowledge to arrest the suspect.

Patrick said once deputies took the Papps to the Huron County Jail, they were served with their warrants.

“As soon as they were arrested, they were served with a secret indictment.”

Mistaken identity of officers

The question of the Norwalk Police Department being at or near the Papps’ residence possibly was a case of mistaken identity.

The Papps alleged they saw two Norwalk officers at the scene March 25. They said one cop was in the front lawn and another was in the Simply U Tanning parking lot next door and at one point, two officers were in their “living room right there by the door.”

However, Chief Dave Light has said multiple times his officers weren’t involved in the warrant even though deputies had notified them beforehand.

“I just talked to (Detective Sgt.) Jim Fulton. They were doing another investigation,” Light said Sunday.

Patrick confirmed that Norwalk police weren’t at the scene. The sheriff’s spokesman said it’s possible the officers identified by the Papps were members of the Huron County drug task force who were at the residence.

“They weren’t dressed in blue uniforms like Norwalk,” Patrick said. “Norwalk wasn’t there; they weren’t involved.”

Comments

swiss family

I don't know why the Sheriff's department can't just admit that they messed up royally..it is so obvious that, they did.. I am not too sure I believe an "app" though, that tells you how long you have been sober, as proof that you actually have been. I guess the good things that we can be thankful for is that the HCDJFS was not involved in this in any way, we all know how they have lied in the past to stay out of trouble, even when it is thrown right in their faces , like in the Gravelle case, and the case worker not only knew about the cages but inspected them and approved them as well, so thankfully they were not involved this time.

We can also be thankful that the questionable choices and decisions that are now being investigated by the last sitting, retired Muni court Judge was not involved, at least , as far as we know anyway...Lord knows he has already cast some unfavorable attention our way by the Judicial higher ups, so the last thing in this fiasco, would have been for him to have signed or been any part of the search warrant...Normally I am supportive of the Sheriff and his team, but when I see that they obviously made a mistake, and deny, deny, deny, as they are doing here, it makes me lose faith in a team that I had, held a lot of respect for, much the same as the retired Judge.....Just say you were wrong, and you made a mistake.. really it is not that difficult in my opinion

Truth2u

Its not about them messing up, its about if they committed an act of Breaking and Entering, Terrorism and Kidnapping. If that warrant was NOT for that address then they should along with the Sheriff be charged with felonies and the Coroner should arrest the Sheriff.

humpty_dumpty

CAN you say COVER UPPPPPPPPPP. This is pathetic a cover up at its best! There not gonna admit wrong doing there gonna trump up some charges to justify there actions.

What this needs is a OUTSIDE investigation done on the actions taken and it needs to be looked into if they really found anything in that home! It seems fishy now people question there actions sudd4enly they found some drug things in the home( hmmm maybe the oh shit we gonna get sued lets plant some stuff say it was found there)

I dont know this guy but to be THIS SMELLS OF CORRUPTION!

Truckstop

The County should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate these charges. If Howard has nothing to hide then he shouldn't be opposed.

NWalk99

@truth2u....you nailed it! It's up to each of us to make sure this continues to get media attention. It's the only way to ensure they are held accountable. Their words were carefully selected and arranged in this press release. @norwalkreflector....please keep updates on this case in the public eye - it's the only way to make certain the facts are not swept under the rug - especially if the facts benefit Mr. Collins.

Nick2405

Its fairly apparent some people on here can't comprehend what they read. Im fairly
Postive mr collins address was on that warrant. Whether they were looking for him or not. He was there. Still his house. Guilty by association and no one else was there to take the fall. Hea probably on probation. Back to mansfield for him. Good work hcso.

2008HD

Humm, the S.O. really phuck up on this one. Search warrant? LOL, they probably just used a contempt warrant to get in the house like usual. If searching for an individual, they need to have a body search warrant /w the person name on the warrant. I'm surprise the bus-01 didn't call for a news press release. The bus should pay for all the damages & give the man an apology if he(the bus) is man enough to do that.

Dr. Information

What's funny is that you people actually think the sheriff's department cares what a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks with fake names on here say. Lol

Kilroy

Didn't HCSO also slam down and handcuff another innocent person when they were looking for the dude that robbed the bank and gas station? Just because he had the same color of paint on his vehicle.

If nothing is wrong why the double secret gag order? They already have named who they were really looking for.

hambone

I just love how people make bad comments about other people making comments! Please explain Dr. Information?

Dr. Information

Bad comments? I just stated that nothing posted on here matters, which is truth.

You guys can complain all you want, have every conspiracy theory known to man, believe every piece of trash floating in this town in this site and it doesn't matter. The local LE do a great and consistent job fighting the drug problems you sane people grip about daily on here. Lol

Dr. Information

But hey this guy has an app that shows he is sober. What a freaking joke.

hambone

"Monday morning quarterbacks with fake names", Just what are you?

somescrewyname

Even if a search warrant is absolutely valid in itself, police must also execute the warrant properly. there cannot be a delay and it must be done at the time stipulated,or else the search itself may be invalid.
So if everything is on the up and up Dr. of info why did they place a gag order on it? My next question Dr of Info is... before any of us knew anything about this, the first article had the cops on the defense......"Wrong place raided? Not so, says sheriff's spokesman" Why are they on the defense right out of the gate?I think most of us who have commented have said we don't care who Mr Collins is or is not, we want to know was our rights to a proper search and seizure carried out as set down by the constitution. And as far as you go your some piece of work to complain about the drug problems in Huron county,and then laugh and make fun of the man for at least trying to get his life back on track and stop using the crap. So this guy keeps track of his days sober on a app on his phone, that's funny to you? I kept track of the days on a calendar when I quite smoking. Are you rolling in the floor laughing over that ? Yes it is really hilarious isn't it? I quit smoking to be healthier and keep the people around me healthier, that is something to get hysterical over LOL. and when Mr Collins is trying to get clean you make fun of him. they got two pot pipes from his residents, they can test them all they want, and it can show it had pot in them, what it can't show is when.

NWalk99

@DR Information. Conspiracy Theorists - REALLY??? Have you ever been outside of Huron County? Police corruption, disregard for constitutional rights and brutality is a GLOBAL issue. So I guess there are millions of conspiracy theorists out there and the videos they have with proof are just a figment of our imaginations. We should also ignore the Supreme Courts recent ruling on several cases - stating that the defendants rights were violated. Clearly you are in denial of what is happening around you - or just chose not to believe it. Hope you never complain if you or anyone else you know falls victim to the law.

humpty_dumpty

DID any you notice the 1st article never mentioned finding nothing!!!! ALL sudden oh they found some stuff in the home! hmmm planted eviodence to cover up there mistakes!

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