A three month long undercover drug investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department resulted in grand jury indictments against sixty four people on Monday, January 13.
(CLICK PDF LINK TO READ NAMES OF DRUG DEFENDANTS ARRESTED WEDNESDAY AND THEIR CHARGES)
news1-8-14defendants.pdf (51.18 KB)
Most of the defendants were arrested Wednesday and brought to the Main Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department on King Ridge Road where they were booked.
"My Department and I started this undercover drug operation around the middle of September and stopped it close to the middle of December," said Sheriff Patrick Ray.
"On Monday January 13th, my Drug Detectives and I met with the DeKalb County Grand Jury for the purpose of seeking indictments on 63 drug dealers here in DeKalb County. We presented a total of 112 controlled drug buys to the DeKalb County Grand Jury. There was also an additional drug indictment on another person for a methamphetamine lab. So the total number of Drug Defendants is 64," he said..
Some of the defendants charged in the drug sting are employees of local businesses. " There were three businesses on West Broad Street in Smithville where we were able to conduct controlled drug buys. We had been receiving citizen complaints of drug sales and drug abuse from one business in particular where we made arrests today. We were able to conduct 12 different controlled drug buys from 6 different employees who worked at this business," said Sheriff Ray.
(SHOWN IN VIDEO BELOW: CORRECTIONAL OFFICER ERNIE HARGIS WITH DRUG DEFENDANT LAWRENCE SCOTT YOUNG WEARING LIGHT BLUE SHIRT AND DETECTIVE ROBERT PATRICK WITH DRUG DEFENDANT CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL PRINCE WEARING DARK JACKET)
"As for the other two businesses on West Broad Street, we were able to conduct four different controlled drug buys from two employees at one business, and two different controlled drug buys from one employee at the other business. In addition, we made one controlled drug buy from an employee at a business on McMinnville Highway. And lastly, we conducted three different controlled drug buy operations from an owner of a business on Holiday Haven Drive," he continued.
Sheriff Ray would not reveal the names of the businesses since in most cases there was no evidence that the owners were aware of the drug activity taking place there.
According to the Sheriff, a variety of drugs were purchased through this three month investigation from individuals across the county. "Through these controlled drug buys, we were able to purchase many different types of drugs. We purchased Dilaudid, Morphine, Opana, Roxycodone, Percocet, Hydocodone, Suboxone Strips, Suboxone Pills, Adderall, Valium, Xanax, Subutex, Ecstasy, Crack Cocaine, and Marijuana. The majority of the drugs bought were prescription pain killers.
These controlled drug buys were spread all across the county," he said.
"Some of the controlled buys were conducted in drug free zones. A drug free zone is property such as parks, day cares, schools, libraries, or any where that is designated for children or where children can gather. The zone extends 1,000 feet from the property line of these places. When a drug dealer arranges for a drug buy to take place within these zones, we as law enforcement can charge the drug dealer with the drug free zone charge. The punishment for illegal drug transactions conducted in a drug free zone enhances the charges and penalties and could result in the defendants having to serve longer sentences and paying higher fines," said Sheriff Ray.
In addition to the arrests, Sheriff Ray said efforts will be made to seize vehicles used in the delivery of the drugs. "Out of this operation, we expect to seize at least 10 vehicles that drug dealers used in the transport and sale of illegal drugs," he said.
Sheriff Ray expressed his appreciation to all those who were involved in the investigation. "I want to thank my Detectives and Deputies for the hard work that they have done in planning and implementing this operation. An extensive amount of time was dedicated to every phase of this significant operation," he said.
"As a result of these efforts, DeKalb County’s citizens are safer and these defendants now have the opportunity to face the consequences of their wrong and, hopefully, make a commitment to not making these mistakes again. And probably the most positive impact of this operation is the undisputed fact that, as of today, the availability of illegal drugs in DeKalb County has been drastically slashed," added Sheriff Ray.
"I also want to thank District Attorney General Randy York, Assistant District Attorney General Greg Strong, and their Secretary Melissa Lewis, Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, DeKalb County 911 Dispatch, Officers from the State of Tennessee Probation and Parole, and the DeKalb County Fire Department for allowing us to use their facility as part of this operation," Sheriff Ray concluded .