UNITE Busts "Hot Spot"

By: Amy Walker
By: Amy Walker

Operation UNITE is taking on another hot spot in eastern Kentucky. This time, the target was an area of Perry County.

Eleven people from the Busy, Big Willard and Yerkes communities are facing drug charges, after UNITE made arrests and served three search warrants during this operation hot spot.

The bust started around 2 pm because UNITE officials say that's when the alleged drug dealers close down to let school buses get through.

Officials say that those kids are a big part of why they are here.

"We're not simply about just arresting people and putting people in jail. We are working to try to help educate those kids to keep them off of drugs," Paul Hayes said.

It's called Operation Hot Spot, and UNITE officers say it's all about turning a community around.

They say the first step is getting the drugs and the dealers off the streets.

With Thursday's arrest warrant and search warrants, it didn't take long for evidence to turn up.

"Xanax, marijuana, and cash, that's proceeds on the individual that we believe was trafficking the illegal drugs," Dan Smoot said.

Smoot says most of the people arrested are charged with trafficking methadone. Even as the drug bust was in progress, police say people kept showing up to buy drugs and one person was cited for possession of marijuana.

"Customers continue to come, the phones continue to ring, people advising they are coming down to purchase," Smoot said.

UNITE officials say this community can change.

As the charged dealers were being processed, UNITE officials were putting fliers in mailboxes.

They want this community to talk about their problems. Officials want residents who may be addicted to drugs to know that UNITE offers voucher programs to pay for drug treatment, and can help them find counseling.

Operation Hot Spot gives these residents power to end one way of life and begin another.

The first Operation Hot Spot happened in August in the Verda community of Harlan County.

UNITE officers say Verda residents are having success and they hope to help Perry County residents do the same.

UNITE officers are hanging letters on doors to announce a community meeting. It will be at 6 pm on October 20th at the Willard Elementary School.


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