KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Millions of dollars worth of illegal drugs have been taken off the streets as officials announce the takedown of a cocaine trafficking organization operating in Knoxville and Knox County.
According to the Knoxville Police Department, 29 people have been arrested and two more arrests are expected.
Officials said wiretapping was a big part of why they were able to make the arrests and dismantle the drug-trafficking organization.
KPD and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) have been investigating the alleged drug ring for more than two years.
For the very first time in Knox County, authorities used wiretapping to get information and build their case.
The Knox County Grand Jury has returned charges against 31 defendants. 29 are out of Knox County. Two people are out of Atlanta.
The suspect have been charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, marijuana and Hydrocodone tablets within a drug-free zone.
During the bust, officials seized $70,000 in cash, 12 vehicles and multiple fire arms.
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said these arrests will make an impact on the streets.
"This organization is out of the way and they are not in our community doing what they were doing," said Chief Rausch. "This will make a huge impact on the flow of drugs in the Knoxville community."
If convicted, those arrested could face up to 25 years in prison and fines from $2,000 to $500,000. The trials are scheduled to start in April.
District Attorney Randy Nichols said law enforcement will continue to use wiretapping to investigate and arrest those breaking the law.
Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said the wiretapping is legal under the Wiretapping and Electronics Surveillance Act of 1994.
He said people should not be concerned about their privacy unless they are breaking the law.