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May 16, 2008

Busted

Large law enforcement roundup yields more than 60 Cullman arrests

By Patrick McCreless

PATRICKM@CULLMANTIMES.COM



Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies conducted a massive crackdown on drug activity in Cullman County Monday and Tuesday, arresting 64 people in the process.

“This is the largest joint effort I can remember in my 30 years of service in Cullman County,” said Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper.

Between 70 and 80 law enforcement personnel from the Cullman County Sheriff’s Department, the Cullman Police Department, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Alabama Bureau of Investigation (ABI), the U.S. Marshals, the Blount County Task Force, the Warrior Police Department and the Cullman County Narcotics Task Force assisted in the roundup.

“This is the culmination of a very long-term investigation into meth manufacturing and firearm trafficking,” said David Hyche, resident agent in charge of the ATF Birmingham III Field Office.

Cullman County Sheriff Tyler Roden said the agents divided into various teams to serve 60 outstanding warrants in the county.

“So far, 39 of those warrants have been served,” Roden said. “Nobody was injured. Everything went very smoothly.”

Roden added the rest of the arrests were made while agents attempted to serve the 60 warrants.

“A lot of these cases are related to the selling of meth,” Roden said. “Three of the arrests were illegals (immigrants) charged with drug offenses.”

Roden noted that the illegal immigrants would be prosecuted for their crimes before they were deported.

“Meth, firearms and illegal aliens, we take that very seriously,” Hyche said.

Most of those arrested were charged with similar offenses including unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana.

“It’s a pretty good percentage of warrants,” Culpepper said. “It was such a good cooperative effort that takes a lot of planning.”

In addition to the arrests, agents seized 18 firearms, shut down a meth lab in Good Hope as well as a lab in Dodge City and recovered small amounts of marijuana and methamphetamine.

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