MUGSHOTS: Major Drug Round-Up in Claiborne County

By: Jim Freeman
By: Jim Freeman
TAZEWELL, Tenn (WVLT) Claiborne County authorities bill it as the county's biggest drug round-up ever.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman spent much of the day riding along with officers as they searched for 43 drug suspects.

Sam Nelson, the jail administrator says of the 43 suspects the round-up is targeting, 20 have already been picked up, charged and booked.

They began filing in for their morning briefing just before sunrise.

Lt. Stephen Hurley says, "it's a limited knowledge thing until the day prior."

This plan has been months in the making.

"They know we're out here. They know that we're making buys."

SWAT team members, local police and even a tax officer gathered and split into four teams and then hit the road.

From Springdale to Backus, Harrogate to Clouds, county-wide they traveled, knowing that knocking on a suspects door is the riskiest of business.

Hurley says, "well, a lot of times you're going to peoples' homes to do this and home is as far as they're going to go. So, if they're going to fight, that's where they're more than likely going to do that."

This bust in the Barren Creek Community.

"Expect anything. Don't get complacent. Just be aware of threats from all directions."

From here it's handed off to the cage crew for a ride to the booking center.

Which on this day was one of the busiest places in Claiborne County.

Officers with the Office of Inspector General were looking for eight TennCare fraud suspects.

Claiborne County Sheriff David Ray says, "these people are getting prescriptions from doctors for pain, and they're selling their drugs."

Whatever the drug crime, its effects reach far beyond the person buying or using drugs or the person that's selling them.

Captain David Honeycutt with the Claiborne County Sheriff's Office says, "it impacts the families plum up to the grandfathers, the children, the wife, the husband, the brothers, the sisters, the neighbors even."

Sheriff Ray says the round-up will continue until all suspects are in custody.



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