Forty-four people were arrested Friday during a warrant sweep conducted by law enforcement agencies in Jackson County.
After a short 5 a.m. briefing at the Ripley Volunteer Fire Department, law officers from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, the Ripley Police Department, the Ravenswood Police Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration fanned out across the county to serve arrest warrants.
The departments started the morning with 55 warrants. Most of them were for felony drug charges, said Chief Deputy Ross Mellinger of the Jackson County Sheriff's Department. Mellinger said he was pleased with the arrest total.
Those arrested were taken into custody without major incident, Mellinger said.
In addition to making the arrests, officers seized at least 100 grams of miscellaneous drugs and several firearms during the coordinated operation, Mellinger said.
A list of the individuals arrested was not available as of this writing because not all of the suspects had been arraigned in Jackson County Magistrate Court. Jackson County magistrate judges Jacqueline Casto and Laura Pursley were in the process of completing those arraignments.
A listing of the names and charges will be included in Jackson Newspapers next week and in subsequent online updates at jacksonnewspapers.com.
Mellinger said the level of cooperation between the participating agencies during the coordinated effort was outstanding.
"The level of teamwork shown here today was really unparalleled," he said.
Police wouldn't be able to make arrests like these without the support of the community, Mellinger said. Citizens tips are often instrumental, though it can take time to complete investigations and build criminal cases.
"Our goal is to show the community that their information matters," Mellinger said.
Mellinger said he believes Tuesday's sweep helped to curtail major drug activity in Jackson County.
"We have two major sources, Charleston to the south and Parkersburg to the north. We also have a direct route to Columbus because of U.S. 33. Unfortunately, when people are run out of those locations, they often come to Jackson County," Mellinger said. "But our goal, as always, is to purify and sanitize Jackson County and to rid the county of these reoccurring toxins."