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Drug task force director takes new job

Jun. 06, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- The director of Lawrence County's drug task force has a new job in Columbus as a law enforcement liaison with the Office of Criminal Justice, part of the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

Tim Sexton, 51, a former Lawrence County sheriff, will start the new job later this month. In that job he will work with drug task forces across Ohio and with policies and procedures at the agency, he said. "It's another great opportunity."

A former Ohio Highway Patrol trooper at the Ironton and Chillicothe posts, Sexton has 32 years in law enforcement. He also worked for the Ironton Municipal Court and as chief investigator in the county prosecutor's office as well as starting the law enforcement program at Collins Career Center and teaching a class at Ohio University-Southern.

Sexton wrote the application for the $54,000 grant used to start the county drug task force in 1998. The program now has two state and federal grants as part of a $160,000 program. Dave Marcum, chief investigator at the office of Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson, will take over as head of the task force.

The new job is bittersweet with the passing last week of prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr., Sexton said.

"There are so many memories," Sexton said Wednesday. "He (Collier) supported me and gave me great opportunities. Many doors have opened for me. I'd like to think I've been successful."

Mack Anderson, an assistant county prosecutor, called Sexton "a proven leader. He will be truly missed. Tim has always been very professional and businesslike. He was very professional and expected the people he worked with to be the same."

Sexton served two terms as sheriff from 2001-08. The drug task force he started "has made a tremendous difference in the drug trade in Lawrence County," Anderson said.

He talked Collier into starting the drug task force more than 15 years ago to help deal with a crack cocaine problem in the county, Sexton said. There also was a problem with Dilaudid (an opiate), he said.

It was during his time as sheriff that Sexton saw the rise of pill mills popping up around the Tri-State. There were 11 pill mills, where people would pay $200 to see doctors and get a prescription for Oxycontin, Sexton said. Those type of operations have been shut down with local and federal prosecutions and changes in the law, he said.

"Now the problem is meth and heroin," Sexton said. Officials also are dealing with the problem of bath salts that are tough to prosecute, as the chemists keep changing the formulas to stay ahead of state laws, he said.

"We have to work together, or the bad guys will win," Sexton said. "I want to thank the members of the drug task force. They are dedicated. It's a dangerous job. I just want to thank everyone for helping make Lawrence County a better place.

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