ONLY ON 3: Retired magistrate, 21 others arrested in round-up
SUMMERVILLE, CHATTOOGA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - Thursday began with stacks of mug shots and arrest warrants.
More than 100 cases were divided among narcotics officers from Summerville and Chattooga County.
"Any round up and search warrant is dangerous," said Summerville Police Chief Stan Mosley, "you never know what you're going to encounter when you go in."
The team has spent the last five months preparing for this day. Undercover officers have been selling and buying drugs to local suspects.
"It ranges from prescription medication to crack cocaine," said Mosley.
Today they picked up the men and women who made the deals with those undercover officers.
One suspected dealer was caught in the act when officers forced their way into his home.
"We kicked the door in and he tried to run through his bedroom," said Chattooga County Sheriff John Everett, "he dropped a lot of his marijuana on the floor."
The suspect was one of 22 arrested in the seven hour operation.
Among those charged, retired Chattooga County Magistrate Jimmy Wilkerson. Undercover officers say they had been selling Wilkerson prescription medication for months, leading up to today's bust.
Channel 3's camera wasn't the only one watching. Small children were found in several homes with large amounts of drugs.
"Sad thing is, we got a four-year-old child in the house also," said Everett at one of the homes where nearly an ounce of marijuana was discovered.
Digital scales made to look like cell phones were confiscated, along with hundreds of dollars in drug money.
But the men and women in uniform say the true accomplishment is taking the pushers off the streets.
"That's going to be a lot of pushers, a lot of users, a lot of dealers," said Mosley, "so to me, anytime we can get that many off the street in one sweep, that's a great move."
Everyone picked up today had a warrant out for their arrest, and is innocent until proven guilty in court.
Child services will investigate homes with children.
Sheriff Everett says the number one problem in Chattooga County is prescription abuse. He says these round-ups are the best way to combat the problem, and warns, this isn't the last undercover operation.