"Operation Pill Mill" nets 28 in Hamblen County

"Operation Pill Mill" nets 28 in Hamblen County

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MORRISTOWN (WATE) – An undercover drug investigation by federal agents rounded up 28 criminals in Hamblen County today.

They called it "Operation Pill Mill". But round-ups like these may not be such a victory for law enforcement because of the massive jail overcrowding problem in the county.

The sheriff says they are about 100 inmates over their limit. Many of them have to sleep on the floors cramped into cells or hallways. So the latest round up just adds to the cramped setting.

We watched as there was barely any room to even get these inmates booked in.

The crowded jail also makes it tough to keep pills out of the jail, defeating the purpose of arresting the drug addicts.

"I am way short on employees for the jail, so we cannot monitor them like we should," said Sheriff Esco Jarnagin.

So, while "Operation Pill Mill" is a small hurrah for the people trying to get pills off the streets, even the county sheriff believes it's not the long term solution.

"It's a revolving door. I know what the problem is, I just don't know how to fix it," Sheriff Jarnagin said.

The Hamblen County jail was decertified because of the overcrowding problem two years ago. As long as they keep rounding up criminals, it will likely stay that way.

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