Large heroin bust in Hamblen, Jefferson counties

Large heroin bust in Hamblen, Jefferson counties

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At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnigan said main suspect Lawrence Gilbert Wells Jr. of Philadelphia, Pa., sold $20,000 worth of heroin to undercover deputies. At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnigan said main suspect Lawrence Gilbert Wells Jr. of Philadelphia, Pa., sold $20,000 worth of heroin to undercover deputies.
Lawrence Gilbert Wells (source: Hamblen County Sheriff's Office) Lawrence Gilbert Wells (source: Hamblen County Sheriff's Office)

MORRISTOWN (WATE) - Narcotics officers were conducting what they called a large heroin bust in Hamblen and Jefferson counties Wednesday morning.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Hamblen County Sheriff Esco Jarnigan said main suspect Lawrence Gilbert Wells Jr. of Philadelphia, Pa., sold 280 hits, or $20,000 worth of heroin, to undercover deputies.

Officials executed search warrants in two locations. One was an address on Lennie Avenue in Morristown. Wells was arrested there and tried to run from deputies.

At that location, officers found and seized 280 bags of heroin with a street value of over $8,400. Also seized were two vehicles, one of which was a Cadillac. A woman was arrested for violation of probation at this location.

The second location was Wells' home in Jefferson County. An undisclosed amount of cash was discovered at that location, which is still being searched. Three women were arrested at the home.

Five people were arrested in all, but officials are not releasing the names of the other four suspects at this time.

Sheriff Jarnigan says the significance of the bust isn't the dollar amount, but the harm the heroin could have caused. Officials believe the heroin would have been sold in Hamblen County.

Officials say the operation is connected to a previous investigation in April that resulted in a narcotics bust of 3,000 pills.

The Hamblen County Sheriff's Department Narcotics Division plans to charge Wells in Federal Court. They say all six of his fellow pill pushers from Philadelphia arrested in April were charged there as well.  All plead guilty in Federal Court.

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