In an effort to root out the people responsible for running drugs in our area, more than150 officers from several state and federal agencies stormed numerous locations in East Texas Wednesday. At exactly 6:00 a.m., a small army of agents raided suspected locations in Smith, Cherokee and Rusk counties. Officers went after the massive amounts of drugs that passed through our area by catching the ones who transport and supply it.
"We have definitely been able to take some of those people away today" said D.E.A. field agent Richard Sanders. Large amounts of drugs like cocaine and marijuana were found, chemicals , and cash were confiscated, and a dozen arrests were made on charges of possession, trafficking and conspiracy.
"We're seeing a trend of a trans-shipment area and this part of Texas has been historically its bread and butter .. Trans-shipment of drugs coming from the border to other parts of the country" according to D.E.A. Agent Sherry Strange. More importantly, agents say they grabbed seven kingpins in the operation, people that are at the top of organized drug trafficking in East Texas. The arrests put a major dent in the drug trade.
"It's very hard to get a feeling of how much is out there, but these are not just small street vendors... These have been major operators," Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith said. Many say that tackling the drug problem drastically reduces other problems connected with it.
"Sixty-five percent of robbery suspects test positive for drugs, and theres a robbery every 50 seconds in this country" said Matthew Orwig of the U.S. District Attorney's office. The suspects in this sting were totally caught by surprise."
Sting organizers say get used to it, they're not done yet.