Deputies along with Tazewell, New Tazewell Police, Campbell County Sheriff Deputies, Hancock County Deputies, T.B.I., Amber Hickman, a state auditor with the Department of Revenue, and agents from the Tennessee Office of Inspector General and others served warrants throughout the county, all day.
In addition to illegal drugs, deputies confiscated vehicles, weapons and will be looking into taking homes of dealers.
“This investigation has been going on 14 months and this is the third drug round-up that the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office has conducted along with the 8th Judicial Task Force. This is the largest round-up the county has had in its history,” stated Ray.
Forty three people were indicted with over 100 counts against the subjects. The subjects were placed on bonds from $10,000 up to $55,000 and in some instances, more. Around 20 were arrested yesterday.
Those arrested yesterday included: Alvin Bolden Jr., Christopher Donnie Atkins, Clarence Noe, Dustin M. Hoskins, Earl Bruce Hendrickson, Eric Jess Carpenter, Jason David Hipshire, Jason Tate, Jose Alain Gonzales, Joseph A McClintock, Kathryn Anne Loft, Kurt A. Warren, Matthew D. Painter, Michelle Bolden and Sara Anne Sockwell.
“We have cases like cocaine, methaphedimine, methadone, hydrocodone, morphine, Demerol, oxycodone and these drugs are what we have been buying undercover in this covert operation. We are continuing to do the same thing, in the months to come, as we have in the past. The number one problem in Claiborne County is drugs,” Ray said.
Since drugs and burglaries are the top illegal problems in Claiborne County, those in drug trafficking, selling, manufacturing drugs or transporting drugs, the sheriff’s department will continue to make arrests of those involved.
“This is just a message. We enjoy our job as sheriff and we enjoy when we those selling drugs off the street. It is left up to the judiciary, from here on. The people of Claiborne County who make a jury up, the judge himself, the prosecuting attorney’s office, they will now decide what penalty these people will be facing,” stated Ray.
The Inspector General’s Office sent two agents who will assist during the raids and will be looking for Medicare and TennCare fraud. There were about seven sealed indictments on that charge.
“They will also look closely at these doctors who are prescribing drugs illegally to those they know are violating the law. We are looking at every angle to put a deterrent to this operating of drugs illegally in our county,” Ray added.
There has been a death from an overdose about each week, in Claiborne County.
“We have lost a generation of our youth to illegal drugs. We hope this is a message. Maybe they can use money they are spending on drugs and apply it to their children and try to get them educated and provide for them. That’s what we are trying to do,” Ray emphatically stated. “I hope we run every drug dealer out of Claiborne County and I hope we don’t have to make another arrest. But it won’t because we are not working 24 hours a day and we will continue, and continue, and continue, we have a good drug operation going on and we will not stop,” he added.
Captain David Honeycutt, Chief of Detectives of the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department stated, “We are trying to send a message to our county. We get loved ones and relatives who have had rifles stolen from them because of drugs, we want to send a message to them.” He stated those using or selling drugs impacts not only their immediate family, but others. “We are talking about grandfathers, their children, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, and their neighbors, because it leaves an impact on them. Criminal activity affects each and everyone, in this county,” Honeycutt stated.
He said there is drug education in the schools and the students, when they go home, see what is going on and it impacts them.
“This is an ongoing investigation and has been going on some time and will continue, this is only the beginning,” Ray said emphatically.
C.J. Harte is a Correspondent for the Daily News. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.