A federal operation focused on drug trafficking led to the arrests of 36 people, officials announced Tuesday afternoon.
The string of arrests took place across eight North Alabama counties on Oct. 9. Read more about that here.
U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town says during the investigation, more than 74 pounds of “ice” methamphetamine, a kilo of cocaine hydrochloride and 46 grams of “crack” cocaine were seized, along with 20 guns and more than $123,000.
Town's office released this statement on Tuesday:
A joint federal, state, and local law enforcement initiative has resulted in the arrests of 36 individuals on a variety of criminal charges, including drug trafficking, money laundering, using communication facilities to facilitate drug trafficking and various firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Clay Morris, FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr., and United States Postal Inspector in Charge, Houston Division, Adrian Gonzalez. The majority of the defendants were arrested in north Alabama, however some defendants were arrested in California, Iowa, Virginia and Tennessee.
“There is no daylight between local, state and federal law enforcement,” Town said. “These indictments represent the hard work of many of our law enforcement partners, and exemplify our global efforts of taking on the most dangerous criminals menacing our neighborhoods. Our relationships across the board have never been stronger.”
"These arrests are indicative of DEA's commitment to rid our communities of drug trafficking organizations determined to profit on the backs of addiction," said Morris. "Citizens in Northern Alabama can rest assured that the DEA and our law enforcement partners are determined to ensure these communities remain safe and a great place to live. The success of this investigation is an outstanding example of our law enforcement community's resolve and determination."
“North Alabama is safer today as a result of this operation,” Sharp said. “This was an outstanding example of law enforcement partnerships working together to remove dangerous criminals from our neighborhoods.”
“The Postal Service has no interest in being the unwitting accomplice to anyone using the U.S. Mail to distribute illegal drugs or other harmful substances,” Gonzalez said. “Postal Inspectors will continue to work with our local and federal law enforcement partners to investigate and hold accountable those who misuse the U.S. Mail. Through our joint efforts, we have dismantled a criminal organization that posed a direct threat to various communities in multiple states.”
“We thank our State and Federal partners for their efforts and support in helping rid our community of illegal activity,” Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner said. “We value our partnerships and will continually look for opportunities to enhance our ability to protect and serve all of Madison County”.
The arrests made on October 9, 2019, resulted from the combined efforts of local law enforcement agencies across eight counties in Northern Alabama, along with State and Federal law enforcement partners. Law enforcement agencies participating in the investigation included: Drug Enforcement Agency; United States Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms; United States Postal Inspection Service; Office of the Attorney General State of Alabama; Alabama Law Enforcement Agency; Morgan County Sheriff’s Department; Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department; Decatur Police Department; Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department; Colbert County Sheriff’s Department; Franklin County Sheriff’s Department; Russellville Police Department; Marion County Sheriff’s Department; Huntsville Police Department, Cullman County Sheriff’s Department, Cullman Police Department, and the Wayne County (Tennessee) Sheriff’s Department.
In the spring of 2018, Special Agents of the DEA, and members of the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and ALEA began an investigation involving quantities of high quality methamphetamine being sold in Morgan and Lawrence County. Agents quickly learned that the methamphetamine was being distributed not only in those areas, but also in the surrounding areas as far south as Cullman and as far north as Tennessee, by multiple affiliated individuals. Agents also learned that the methamphetamine was coming from the San Bernardino area of California.
During the course of the investigation, over 74 pounds of “ice” methamphetamine, a kilo of cocaine hydrochloride and 46 grams of “crack” cocaine was seized. Twenty guns were seized, including two assault rifles and a short barrel shotgun. Some of the guns seized were identified as stolen. Over $123,000 was seized by federal agencies. This amount does not include amounts of money seized and forfeited by state and local agencies.
DEA, FBI, and USPIS, investigated the case, which Mary Stuart Burrell is prosecuting.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.