Courthouse incident leads to three drug trafficking arrests

Three people have been arrested after an investigation into drug trafficking in Bartholomew County.

According to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, correctional officers noticed suspicious activity while transporting inmates to the county courthouse for hearings. They reported that a woman placed suboxone on the courthouse grounds, which was then retrieved by an inmate and taken back to the jail.

The investigation revealed that the woman, 26-year-old Kelsa Burton of Columbus was working under the direction of 31-year-old Erik Peetz II of Columbus, who was a jail inmate at the time. The inmate who picked up the suboxone was identified as 41-year-old Justin Bowles of Columbus.

Bowles and Peetz are being accused of conspiracy to deal in a controlled substance and Bowles is facing another charge for possessing the drug.

Burton is facing charges of dealing in, conspiracy to deal in and possession of a controlled substance, as well as trafficking with an inmate outside a facility.

Sheriff Chris Lane said attempting to traffic drugs into the jail is a serious offense and endangers the safety and order of the facility.

Erik Peetz II
Kelsa Burton
Justin Bowles