ONLY ON 3: Undercover operation nets dozens of Etowah drug deale - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ONLY ON 3: Undercover operation nets dozens of Etowah drug dealers

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MCMINN COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Taken by surprise.

A drug round-up months in the making netted almost 40 alleged drug dealers in McMinn County. The Etowah Police Department has been working on undercover sting operations since January. And they spent Wednesday morning rounding up the people they say sold drugs to undercover officers.

The grand jury handed down 133 indictments on 37 people in all parts of McMinn County, but mostly Etowah.

Channel 3 was the only station there as police hauled their suspects to jail.

The round-up began at 5 a.m. Wednesday and lasted through the afternoon.

Detective Jim Shaw with the Etowah Police Department has been working on the operation since January. He said it's the city's first ever drug round-up.

"Crack cocaine, meth, and any type of prescription pill you can think of, from morphine to Zanax," Det. Shaw said.

Shaw said in one case, a couple even sold drugs around their children. The youngest arrested was 19 and the oldest was 64 years old.

After being arrested, investigators swab their skin to test for drugs and then haul them off to jail for booking. For some, it's not a new process.

"Some of them are repeat offenders and some of them were on state probation and so now their probation is being violated," Det. Shaw said. "Maybe out of 37 of them, if we can get a third of them to change, it would be great," Det. Shaw said.

The next step is talking with a lawyer and getting a date in court. Shaw said the process could take 8-16 months.

Shaw and the Etowah Police Department led the effort with help from the Drug Task Force, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, McMinn County Sheriff's Department, Parole and Corrections, the District Attorney's Office, and Department of Children's Services. In all, roughly 40 authorities assisted with the round-up Wednesday.
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