More Details Emerge In Meth Ring Investigation

Posted On February 21, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

Sam J. Spicer II Dearborn County Sheriff's Dept.

Sam J. Spicer II
Dearborn County Sheriff’s Dept.

(Rising Sun, Ind.) – We’re learning more about a methamphetamine ring bust in southeast Indiana this week.

More than 25 people were charged Monday following the busts of two meth operations: one in Switzerland in January and another in Butler County, Ohio on February 12.

Investigators tracked some of the suspects attempting to purchase pseudoephedrine – a main ingredient in making meth – following the Switzerland County takedown. Two of the lead suspects were identified as Sam J. Spicer II and Lisa Fay Ellis, both of Rising Sun.

Spicer and Ellis were monitored by detectives as the made a number of trips to Kroger in Lawrenceburg, where they were able to make multiple purchases of pseudoephedrine. A national online database tracking pseudoephedrine purchases known as NPLEX was used to determine how many times Spicer, Ellis, and their accomplices bought the precursor.

Lisa Fay Ellis Dearborn County Sheriff's Dept.

Lisa Fay Ellis
Dearborn County Sheriff’s Dept.

According to a court affidavit, investigators found that a Kroger Plus loyalty card registered to Spicer had allegedly been used to purchase pseudoephedrine 29 times between January 16, 2013 and January 8, 2014. Spicer allegedly offered drugs to several other suspects in exchange for them purchasing pseudoephedrine for him.


Following the execution of a search warrant at the Oxford, Ohio home where the meth operation was discovered, investigators questioned Ellis. She told officers that once the pills were in hand, she and Spicer would go to Butler County to provide the pills to her boyfriend, Vernis Newton. He would allegedly cook the meth.

Vernis Newton Butler County Jail

Vernis Newton
Butler County Jail

During the raid in Oxford, officers found 5.5 boxes of pseudoephedrine – enough to make more than three grams of meth, according to the affidavit.

Spicer, 41, and Ellis, 34, are held in the Dearborn County Law Enforcement Center. Spicer and Ellis remain held without bond as they wait to make their initial court appearances. Like all others arrested in Dearborn County on Monday, they are held on charges of Conspiracy to Commit Dealing (Manufacturing) of Methamphetamine (Class A felony).

Newton, 29, was apprehended in Butler County. He is held there on a bond amount of $50,000.


25 Charged In Two-State Meth Investigation