MANCHESTER, Ky. (WYMT) - Operation UNITE and law enforcement officials joined forces in Clay County Tuesday to round up more than one dozen people on drug-related charges.
Police say the drug roundup was the result of a four month undercover investigation into narcotics in Clay County. The multi-agency operation included members of the Manchester City Police, Clay County Sheriff's Office and Kentucky State Police.
"This is just another step in the drug trafficking problem that we have here. A majority of it is prescription drugs," said Clay County Sheriff Kevin Johnson.
Last week, a Clay County grand jury handed down indictments on 32 individuals faced with various drug charges. Officers worked fast to serve as many warrants as possible in a short amount of time.
Police say going out and arresting multiple people at once like this is not only efficient; it also sends a message to would-be offenders.
"The message from here today that we'd like everyone to know is if you are selling narcotics in Clay County or the City of Manchester, we're going to come after you, we're going to do everything that we can to prosecute you, and place you in jail," the sheriff said.
Operation UNITE officials praised the sting, saying law enforcement is doing everything it can to keep drugs out of Eastern Kentucky.
"The ultimate goal of Operation UNITE has always been one thing. We've arrested a lot of people but that's not our ultimate goal. Our ultimate goal is to stop the drug problem," said UNITE's director of law enforcement Paul Hays.
Officials say they hope would-be drug dealers will learn there is a better way.
As of noon Tuesday, officers had 20 people in custody. They say they plan to keep up the search until all the suspects have been captured.