UPDATE 4/26/13 @ 6:30 p.m.
MINGO COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- More than a dozen people arrested on drug charges were taken to court Friday to face those charges.
WSAZ.com was there Thursday as the arrests were made.
Friday, we went back to Mingo County to see how the drug problem is impacting neighbors, and what they think about the push get them off the streets.
“It's a depressed area. There used to be a lot of jobs in the area. As time goes, jobs go away,” Brian Bowens of Mingo County said.
Bowens drives two hours just to get to work. While forcing him to drive beyond county lines, he says the tough economy is bringing more drug traffic into the county.
“You really can't blame people for doing whatever they gotta do to get by,” Bowens said.
“When we moved here, there weren't hardly any drugs at all,” Bill Curry of Mingo County said. “Now, about every month or so, they pick them up for drugs.”
The latest drug roundup landed more than a dozen people behind bars.
“Everybody sells pills in Mingo County and West Virginia, everybody,” Bruce Bevins said as he was arrested on drug charges.
That's far from the truth, but neighbors do agree that everyone is somehow linked to the drug problem.
Whether it's a family member, a friend or a neighbor, many have seen the power of prescription pill abuse.
“People get to feeling good with it,” Bowens said. “Then they get a little worse, they get immune to it and they have to go to something else.”
When they're caught, they're arrested. But some say police are fighting an uphill battle.
“You take one down, two or three move back,” Bowens said.
It's a vicious cycle that officers say they’re trying to break.
A dozen people were arrested Thursday and are now facing drug charges. Overall, police are working to arrest 17 people.
The sheriff's office and several police departments went to their homes or wherever they were Thursday morning -- and brought them back in handcuffs.
Police say this is all part of operation zero tolerance -- started by the late sheriff, Eugene Crum.
Crum was shot and killed three weeks ago.
“I think they were worried after the loss of our sheriff. I think they were worried that we wouldn't carry on the fight. But it's going on," Williamson Police Chief Dave Rockel said. "That's what he wanted, that's what the people of this county want and that's what they expect and what they're gonna get.”
So far, 12 people have been arrested.
Faron James Cline
Chad Nicholas Alley
Lawrence Wilkerson Sr.
They will be arraigned Friday at 1 p.m.
Keep clicking on WSAz.com for the latest information.
Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sparks says the April Grand Jury indicted a total of 42 people on various charges, including the 16 sealed drug indictments.
Thursday’s indictment roundup is the second of its kind in recent months, a promise officials made after Sheriff Eugene Crum was murdered last Month.
“Sixteen felony drug cases in only two months is outstanding production. Sheriff Crum is with us in spirit and continues to inspire us,” said Sparks.
By early afternoon, nine of the 16 people on the list had been arrested.
Deputies tell WSAZ.com they are: Chad Alley, Jimmy Diamond, Donald West, Bruce Bevins, Daniel Martin, Bradley Lawson, James Crabtree, and Amanda Dempsey. They are all set to be arraigned Friday afternoon in Mingo County Circuit Court.
“I commend the grand jury for their service, citizenship and dedication to the cause of justice. I also commend the West Virginia State Police, Mingo County Sheriff's Department and Williamson Police Department for the investigations that resulted in the indictments, said Sparks.
Included in the 42 indictments was murder and attempted murder charges against Tennis Maynard.
Maynard is charged with the shooting death of Sheriff Crum, and the attempted murder of Corporal Norman Mines earlier this month. Maynard was shot during the incident and is still hospitalized. An arraignment will be set when he is released.
WSAZ has a crew in Mingo County.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.
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