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Second Verda Drug "Hot Spot" Targeted

Operation UNITE returned to what it calls a "hot spot" for drugs Thursday to make more arrests in an effort to help people take back their community. Local police say UNITE is definitely having an effect.

Evarts Police Chief Lupe Blas says people were dying in his community. A community he says was gripped by drugs like Oxycontin. While he says it is still very much a problem, he's seeing an improvement.

"If people think we have a drug problem, if UNITE hadn't started when they did, it would be disastrous," Blas said.

Their work is not over. After going after 18 suspected drug dealers in July, officers are back in the nearby Verda and Jones Creek communities going after more.

Chief Blas says UNITE is vital to small towns who don't always have the manpower to track down the drug dealers themselves.

"I'm so glad UNITE is around, especially for our police department that is small in numbers," Blas said.

"We're going to focus on those small communities that are just inundated with drug traffickers and we ask that they assist us in fighting back," Smoot said.

"It's the best thing that's happened to our community," Blas said.

Operation UNITE officers arrested seven and issued new warrants for three more suspected dealers. They say they expect to make more arrests in the coming days.

Those arrested or in jail Thursday are:

* Elizabeth Cozart, age 31, of Jackson Lane, Evarts, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender.

* James Ronnie Farley, age 21, of Tan Trough Hollow, Jones Creek, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

* Janie Fox, age 39, of Jones Creek, Evarts, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender.

* Mark Jones, age 44, of Mine Road, Verda, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

* Randy Lewis, age 24, of Jackson Lane, Evarts, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender.

* Tammy Mills, age 45, of Jones Creek, Evarts, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and second-degree persistent felony offender.

* Bill Napier, age 52, of Highway 38, Cotes, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

* Troy Napier, age 32, of Cawood Branch Road, Jones Creek, two counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, third-degree trafficking in a controlled substance, and second-degree persistent felony offender.

* Randy Perry, age 31, of Hendrix Lane, Evarts, first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.

* Tina Britt Smith, age 35, of Middleton Addition, Evarts, three counts first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance.


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