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June 10, 2011

UPDATED: Roundup: ‘Largest crackdown ever’ nets 96 arrests

Massive joint law enforcement effort result of 4 month investigation

A massive law enforcement operation over the past three days netted nearly 100 drug arrests — arguably the largest crackdown ever in Cullman County.

Approximately 113 arrest warrants were served, and 96 arrests were made, with several of the charges including unlawful distribution of a controlled substance, and unlawful manufacturing of a controlled substance. Lesser charges, such as drug and paraphernalia possession, were also included.

“This was the largest law enforcement joint effort on illegal drug activity in the history of Cullman County,” Cullman County Sheriff Mike Rainey said. “I was elected for this purpose, and this is the largest crackdown ever here.”

More than 60 law enforcement agents from the sheriff’s office, Cullman Police Department, Hanceville Police Department, Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), US Marshals, Alabama Department of Corrections, Cullman Fire Department, local district attorney’s office, Cullman Emergency Medical Services, and the Cullman County Detention Center were involved in the sweep.

“This type of operation takes a lot of planning and effort, and the entire roundup could not have gone any smoother,” Rainey said. “I would like to thank Joey Cone, director of the [Cullman] narcotics enforcement team (CNET), his agents, and all law enforcement agencies that helped to make this roundup such a success.”

The agents involved were divided into eight teams, then spread out across the area this week to serve warrants in almost every corner of Cullman County.

“The arrests were widespread, and we had some from just about every community,” CNET Director Joey Cone said. “The majority of these arrests were made during the morning hours.”

Most of the arrests involved methamphetamine or prescription drugs, though a few did involve cocaine and heroine. Cone also noted one indoor marijuana growing operation was broken up as part of the effort.

“There were no active meth labs recovered, but we did find some ingredients, which led to other arrests at some residences,” he said. “We did find one marijuana growing operation, and shut it down. We’re just very pleased with how this worked out.”

The massive CNET investigation began four months ago, and Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper said most arrests developed from anonymous reports filed by the community.

“So often you get calls about a house down the street, and someone asks why you haven’t done anything about it, and an investigation is ongoing but you can’t tell them that,” he said. “This is our chance to really show the people we have been working, and responding to those tips over the last few months.”

Assistant District Attorney Jeff Roberts said the local office is ready to move forward with these cases in the courtroom, as well.

“This was a significant step forward in combating drugs in this county, and we will prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law,” he said.

Though this operation came to an end today, Rainey said his office will remain vigilant and continue to focus on the drug problem in Cullman County.

“This roundup and the ones to follow are what I promised the people of Cullman County,” he said. “My department has made the war on drugs our number one priority and I want everyone to know we are just getting started.”

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