(05/20/2006)
Thirty-one people have been arrested in the past week in a drug sweep across Central West Virginia.

A total of 40 warrants were issued in a sweep that started on Sunday, covering a multitude of illegal substances.

Sergeant James Merrill with West Virginia State Police says it's part of a statewide effort to crack down on illegal drugs.

The agency used funds from a million dollars the governor promised to allocate in his State of the State address.

"Some of these individuals were charged with related charges of operating a meth lab, having precursors to produce methamphetamine and also the delivery of hydrocodone or the cultivation of marijuana," said Merrill.

The arrests were the result of a year long investigation, with most of those arrested being from Braxton and Webster counties.

The first arrests came Sunday at a home on Copen Run Road near the Braxton-Gilmer line. Two people were arrested, including Thomas MacWilliams who State Police identified as a fugitive from Ohio. About 270 mature marijuana plants were found.

Five people were arrested at a Webster County home when officers arrived Thursday to serve the warrants. Police say they found five people cooking meth. Others were arrested for delivery of controlled substances.


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