Carter drug roundup nearing conclusion on 61 grand jury indictments

John Thompson • Mar 24, 2018 at 9:48 AM

ELIZABETHTON — A large drug roundup that began Tuesday is winding down and a press conference was held in the conference room of the Carter County Sheriff’s Department to discuss its success.

Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford and Elizabethton Police Chief Jason Shaw joined with 1st District Attorney General Tony Clark to discuss the types of drugs found and the impact of the roundup. The names of those arrested are being withheld until the roundup ends next week because Lunceford said the investigation is ongoing. He said the names “need to remain confidential” while the investigation continues.

Lunceford said the sheriff’s department and the police department have been working together and alongside the Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to bring in those wanted on grand jury indictments and arrest warrants.

The sheriff said 63 people were on 61 indictments handed down by a Carter County grand jury on March 16. He said an additional 15 people were also arrested in cases of people at the locations were the indictments were served. He said the additional arrests were cases of “criminals hanging out with criminals.”

Lunceford and Clark said the drugs included opioids and methamphetamine. They said the methamphetamine is coming from Mexico instead of being made locally in clandestine labs, as has been the case in past years. Clark said Suboxone is one of the top drugs being seized.

Lunceford said the raids also included the seizure of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and $5,000 in cash.

The officers said the roundup is the result of a year’s investigation. They said it was not just officers working in the Drug Task Force, but also police officers on beats, dispatchers and tips coming from citizens.

They said some people don’t think the tips hotlines are working because they don’t see an immediate result from the tip. Lunceford said it takes time to bring these confidential investigations to readiness, but the tips are an important part of the effort.

Lunceford said there have been no injuries during the roundup. There have been two incidents. On the first day there was a standoff for a short time at a residence on Charity Hill Road. A man slammed the door when officers came to serve an indictment and had a pit bull dog in the residence, the sheriff said. The situation was quickly resolved when a K-9 team was brought in.

The second incident involved a pursuit that crossed the state line into North Carolina. Lunceford said two men are now in the process of being extradited back to Carter County.

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