Athens Police Department makes impressive series of drug arrests-

by Staff
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IMG_4381ATHENS – On Saturday, Nov. 2, the entire Athens Police Department rounded up drug dealers as part of a six-month undercover operation known as Operation Harvest Festival.

Police Chief Floyd Johnson said the undercover drug buys and surveillance resulted in 95 arrest warrants for 43 people. The 95 warrants are for 42 cases of distribution of a controlled substance, 27 cases of conspiracy to commit a controlled substance crime, 21 cases of possession of a controlled substance and five non-drug related cases such as traffic violations or failure to appear in court. Six additional drug-related charges were added after the arrests and further charges may be pending.

The roundup led to police apprehending 31 of the 43 suspects, and officers continued to search for the remaining 12 suspects on Saturday afternoon.

“Every officer from patrol to investigations participated in this operation,” Johnson said. “I am proud of their dedication and hard work to free our neighborhoods of drug dealers.”

During Operation Harvest Festival, drugs purchased included crack, cocaine and marijuana, Johnson said.

Officers started with a briefing at 4 a.m. and started serving warrants around 5:30 a.m. The department established ahead of time groups of entry teams, transport teams and booking teams to facilitate the safe and quick apprehension, transportation and booking of suspects.

“We took a break to control traffic for the 9 a.m. Sherri Adams Pink Ribbon Run, and we were hoping that the other dealers on our list who may have heard about our early morning arrests would think we were done for the day,” Johnson said. “We then picked back up serving warrants around 10 a.m.”

IMG_7906Police confiscated drugs, guns, money and a malnourished dog. Police sent the dog, a pit bull, to a veterinarian for evaluation.No one was injured during the roundup. Johnson said one suspect with a loaded gun attempted to lock himself in a bathroom but was captured. Police arrested the other suspects without incident.

Johnson invited District Attorney Brian Jones to attend the roundup. Johnson is asking Jones to support seeking restitution from the defendants for the department’s expenses related to this half-year operation. Johnson is getting a tabulation of overtime and money used to purchase the drugs for that restitution amount.

Johnson said his department has a plan in place to conduct follow-up checks on the suspects to determine the status of their court cases and to monitor for any ongoing criminal activity.

“For us the work does not stop today,” Johnson said. “We don’t want them back in our community picking up where they left off selling drugs.”

Mayor Ronnie Marks commended the department for its efforts to protect citizens and take drugs off the city’s streets.

“The fight against drugs is ongoing, but operations like this should prove to dealers in Athens that our officers are committed to continue the fight,” Marks said. “These officers have worked long hours to build these cases, and I hope the citizens of Athens will join me in giving them our heartfelt thanks.”

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