Drug probe nets 147 indictments

The Patrick County Sheriff’s Office spent most of the day Monday searching for and arresting some of the 51 individuals named in 147 sealed drug indictments issued by a Patrick County grand jury on June 6, according to Sheriff Dan Smith.
The indictments were for narcotics distribution involving an assortment of scheduled narcotics such as methamphetamine, cocaine, oxycontin and other drugs.
As of Monday evening, 27 of the 51 suspects had been arrested, the sheriff said.
“Many of the unserved suspects are incarcerated elsewhere or reside in North Carolina,” Smith said. “Those out of state suspects will be found and brought here through the extradition process.”
These indictments come as a result of a two-year covert investigation led by Sheriff’s Sergeant Eric O’Connell and Investigator Nick Pendleton, Smith said. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Virginia State Police assisted the sheriff’s office in the investigation.
Smith said this is the first phase of what he is calling the largest covert narcotics investigation his office has ever conducted.
“If you’re selling drugs and you didn’t get caught this time, you have to ask yourself ‘am I next?’” Smith said.
The sheriff said drug abuse and distribution are a core problem, directly fueling other crimes such as burglary, larceny and sexual assault.
The unserved indictments will be unsealed on Wednesday, by an order of the Patrick County Circuit Court.
Multiple law enforcement agencies assisted the sheriff’s office with the arrests on Monday.

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