Morristown police arrest 30 in massive drug round up

Morristown police arrest 30 in massive drug round up

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Dubbed Operation Life Saver, Morristown Police, with the help of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, sought out 49 individuals charged with illegally selling drugs. Dubbed Operation Life Saver, Morristown Police, with the help of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, sought out 49 individuals charged with illegally selling drugs.
"I've been doing law enforcement for 30 years and in those 30 years there's always been a drug coming alone that we thought was going to be the worst ever. I think we now have found that worst drug ever," said Morristown Police Chief Roger Overholt. "I've been doing law enforcement for 30 years and in those 30 years there's always been a drug coming alone that we thought was going to be the worst ever. I think we now have found that worst drug ever," said Morristown Police Chief Roger Overholt.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

MORRISTOWN (WATE) –  A 12-month undercover operation lands three dozen suspected drug dealers behind bars in Hamblen County.

Dubbed Operation Life Saver, Morristown Police, with the help of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, sought out 49 individuals charged with illegally selling drugs.

Morristown Police say the rise in prescription pill sales makes catching these dealers harder than ever.

"I've been doing law enforcement for 30 years and in those 30 years there's always been a drug coming alone that we thought was going to be the worst ever. I think we now have found that worst drug ever," said Morristown Police Chief Roger Overholt.

On Friday, five teams of officers hit the streets for the massive round up. They arrested 30 of the 49 indicted. They discovered six others were already in jail on unrelated charges. Throughout the weekend they will continue to search for the remaining suspects.

Chief Overholt explained the yearlong operation taught the narcotics team to alter their approach when targeting prescription pill dealers.

"Historically, you had an idea of who may be a drug dealer or what a drug dealer might look like," Chief Overholt said.  

But that's no longer case, the 30 people arrested today range in age, race, and gender.

"With the abuse of prescription medication were seeing trends that are very unusual," the chief said.

Chief Overholt says more than 90 percent of the people arrested were for the sale and distribution of prescription pills, some even turning it into a "family business."

"We have had cases in the past where maybe two individuals from the same family were charged, but this is the first time we can recall charging five individuals, who are related, during a single undercover operation. It appears these individuals have chosen to make illegal drug sales as their family business," he explained.

There was another family of three arrested and six other groups of suspects arrested that are related.

Calling it Operation Life Saver, Chief Overholt believes it will do it exactly that.

"When we remove these people off the street first of all we could be saving their life as an individual but we know were making the lives safer of the people who may be subjected to these people who may be driving under the influence," he said.

But even the chief knows today's round up only makes a small dent in the prescription drug problem.

"The reality of it is, we will arrest these 49 people who've been indicted but tomorrow will be back on the streets buying prescription drugs illegally again from others."

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