Tazewell, Va. – Four people described as “major drug dealers with ties to a cartel’ have been charged in Tazewell County.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Plaster made the announcement during a press conference with Sheriff Brian Hieatt and representatives of the county’s drug task force. Plaster said law enforcement had worked for a year and a half to make its way up the food chain.
Plaster said Operation Mouse Trap had been going on for a year and a half and used confidential informants to make cases against people who made significant cash money off drug operations.
“They are making significant money, cash money they are not paying taxes on off the back of this addiction epidemic we face in our county,’ he said.
They seized $125,908, 33.5 pounds of methamphetamine, 3.5 ounces of heroin, seven grams of crack cocaine, various prescription drugs, 51 firearms, body armory, 100’s of rounds of ammunitions, magazines and knives.
He said 11 pounds of methamphetamine, $46,000, 37 guns, seven grams of cocaine, body armor and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were seized from one defendant. Plaster said the total value of the drugs alone was $1.5 million.
He said at least one of the four defendants was taking deliveries from the cartel and some of those deliveries were brought here by cartel members. He said all four faces up to life in prison.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney said the bust is firm evidence that law enforcement is working hard to get drugs off the street. He also reiterated a message he sent to drug dealers last year, “Stop and Stop now.
We will catch you. We will not rest until we are successful,’ he said. Sheriff Hieatt said he couldn’t be more proud of the work done by the drug task force. He said that was just a portion of the drugs coming into the county.
Hieatt said meth is quickly overtaking pain pills as the number one problem drug. Hieatt said the problem is being attacked every day by several agencies. “People didn’t see the officers that were working on this but here is the outcome’ he said.
Richlands Police Chief Jerry Gilbert said the pictures represented lives being saved. Gilbert said his officers administer Narcan daily to bring people back to life that has overdosed. Plaster said names of the defendants were not being released in an effort to keep the defendants families safe.
He said these defendants were selling drugs as a business and were not users. He said the ones arrested decided to go big and made contact with a cartel.