(01/14/2021)
Law enforcement from across the state traveled to Jackson County on Wednesday to conduct the largest drug investigation round up in the history of West Virginia.

The investigation, named "Operation Centennial Sweep" after the goal to arrest 100 people in association with drug related charges, started about 5 a.m.

Jackson County Deputy, Bryan Varney said the operation "helps get get bad people off the street. If we arrest the drug dealers, it makes it harder for users to get the drugs."

A Facebook post from the sheriffÂ’s office said officers were acting on 113 warrants for various drug offenses involving methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, prescription narcotics and marijuana.

Just a few hours in, law enforcement arrested over half of the people wanted.

Multiple law enforcement agencies helped during the early morning sweep including Jackson County deputies, Ripley Police Department, U.S. Marshals and Ravenswood Police Department among others. In all, 70 officers helped during the arrests.

Jackson County has conducted roundups before, but never to this extent. "Operation Centennial Sweep" took almost a year to plan.

Sheriff Ross Mellinger created this idea when he was running for the position last year. He said that even if he lost the elections the plan could still be carried out.

"The investigation could still go forward, and would leave Jackson County a better place then when we found it," Mellinger said. "Either way, Jackson County wins."

This operation comes just one week after a COVID-19 break out at the sheriff's office and courthouse. Deputies changed some logistics to keep everyone involved safe. The officers made sure everyone arrested wore a mask, and they set up tents outside the courthouse for processing.


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