A press release says the arrests stem from an investigation by the Southwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force into illegal drug activity in Wise County. Those targeted for arrest were recently indicted by the Grand Jury on various drug offences, including repeat offenders. The initial Operation Street Sweeper arrested nearly 50 people in April of last year, followed by three more Street Sweeper operations that arrested more than 100 suspects.
The investigations have focused on pharmaceutical drug abuse in Southwest Virginia, which authorities say has become a major problem -- not only in drug-related deaths, but acting as a catalyst for other crimes committed in the region.
"Anyone selling illegal drugs in Wise County should be concerned because we are out there watching," Elkins said in a written release. "We have some of the best law enforcement officers in the state, men and women who have dedicated their lives to protect Wise County citizens."
Agencies of the Drug Task Force assisting in today's mass arrests will include Wise, Scott, Dickenson and Lee County Sheriff Departments, Big Stone Gap and Norton Police Departments and the Virginia State Police.