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Over 100 arrests in Jackson County after biggest drug warrant sweep in West Virginia history

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 1:04 PM EST
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JACKSON COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Over 100 people are now facing charges after Jackson County Sheriff’s Department lead what they say is the largest drug warrant sweep in the history of the state.

“When we saw that the largest operation in the past was 92, we immediately said why not shoot for 100,” said Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger. “If they can do 92 why can’t we do 100 and once we meet that century mark, than anything is possible.”

Sheriff Mellinger said their target list had 113 names, with outstanding warrants, on it and their goal was to cross all the of them out with a two-day operation.

On Wednesday WSAZ reported the first part of the two-day operation, ‘Operation Centennial Sweep,’ which has been in the works for roughly one year.

“Day one certainly exceeded expectations,” said Jackson County Sheriff Ross Mellinger. “When the sun went down (Wednesday) night we were actually sitting at about 90 (arrests).”

On Thursday, law enforcement agencies executed the second part of the operation now leaving over 100 people arrested.

Sheriff Mellinger said majority of the arrests are felony drug charges along with other related crimes.

“A lot of times there will be property crimes and gun crimes (too) but it’s all inter-related and sometimes the gun crimes and property crimes will be secondary nature to the underlying drug investigation.”

He also added that the arrests made were primarily for felony crimes:

“The majority of the operations are all felony investigations, you have a few misdemeanors sprinkled in but those misdemeanor cases are complementary of the felony investigations,” Sheriff Mellinger told WSAZ. “You have different levels of culpability within the investigation, it’s important to attack it on all levels top to bottom because, ultimately when you have a few misdemeanors sprinkled in, there going to actually help your felony investigations.”

The operation was a joint effort between the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, Ravenswood Police Department, Ripley Police Department, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, West Virginia State Police and the Division of Natural Resources.

“It’s a continual operation and I think it’s a little bit of a wake up call for a lot of folks in the county,” said Sheriff Mellinger. “That’s really the design by nature, it’s the proverbial line in the sand moving forward. With any luck we have eight years of this stuff so if they don’t like it, they can find somewhere else to live.”

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