Authorities work to arrest more than 190 named in round of indictments

An undercover investigation netted 650 indictments in which more than 190 people are named, according to Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith.

“This is the largest narcotics operation we’ve had to date,” Smith said Tuesday afternoon, after 20 of those named had been arrested.

“This is 100 percent Mexican (drug) cartel controlled,” Smith said, adding the majority of the charges were related to methamphetamine and heroin. He explained that the majority of methamphetamines enters Patrick County along the Interstate 77 corridor. Some charges were related to prescription opioids and firearms, he added.

Smith said the indictments were handed down June 6 by a special grand jury.

The multi-jurisdictional, multi-agency roundup began around 9 a.m. Tuesday, with law enforcement agencies that also included the Virginia State Police, U.S. Marshals Service, Martinsville Police Department and sheriff’s offices from Carroll, Henry and Pittsylvania counties, Smith said.

The nine teams of law enforcement officers worked in tandem to make arrests in assigned areas of the county, Smith said.

By early afternoon, Smith said 20 had been arrested.

“It will take several weeks to arrest all of those named in the indictments,” he added.

The undercover investigation began in late 2017, and finished in April, 2019, Smith said, adding that the indictments stem from undercover drug buys.

The indictments are sealed until September, he said.

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