By Shannon Davidson
(SHELBYVILLE, Ky., June 23rd, 2004, 6 p.m.) -- Several police agencies across Kentucky descended upon drug dealers in Shelby County early Wednesday morning. The year-long investigation cost more than $60,000, and as WAVE 3's Shannon Davidson reports, it looks like the time and effort paid off.
The drug sting involved Kentucky State Police from five different posts, the Shelby County Sheriff's Department and Shelbyville police. The goal was to round up 72 drug dealers.
The roundup began at the crack of dawn June 23rd -- police say that's the best time to catch drug dealers, simply because they're most likely asleep.
The police went from location to location, arresting dozens of people who were indicted last week for trafficking in cocaine and marijuana.
Although the arrests we saw Wednesday were peaceful, Trooper Kevin Calhoon knows no matter how smoothly an arrest goes, police always have to be prepared for someone to run. "We're dealing with people who have two strikes, three strike felonies, so if they're convicted, they might go away for quite some time. So they may be willing to do anything they can to not get apprehended."
By midday, police had arrested 34 suspects, and Calhoon says there will no doubt be more.
"I'm sure the word's getting out that we're starting to lock a bunch of people up. With that, some people will be in vehicles that we recognize."
Handcuffed suspects were brought to an old firehouse for processing before being taken to jail. Those indicted by a Shelby County grand jury were charged with more than 100 trafficking offenses, and some also were charged with being persistent felons.
This 13-month long investigation started because Shelby County residents complained about the number of blatant drug deals being made on their streets and in their neighborhoods.
Police hope to locate the remaining 38 suspects in the coming days and weeks. Marijuana and cocaine were confiscated during Wednesday's busts, but there's no estimate yet of street value.
Online Reporter: Shannon Davidson