Law enforcement personnel from local, state and federal agencies executed more than 140 arrest warrants in 12 counties Friday on suspects believed to be part of a methamphetamine distribution network supplying dealers and users in Butts County.
More than 125 deputies and police officers from 16 different agencies representing the Towaliga and Griffin judicial circuits, as well as state and federal agents, took part in the investigation and arrests for "Operation Crystal Web."
They met at the Central Georgia EMC Annex early Friday morning and were divided into eight teams and given their warrants to be served. The teams began leaving about 8:20 a.m. and continued to make arrests throughout the day.
As of 2 p.m. Friday, 45 of of 70 suspects had been taken into custody in Butts County, and 12 of 20 more suspects were arrested in Spalding County.
The meth distribution investigation began in Butts County in August 2020 and soon spread to other counties throughout the state.
"Early into the investigation, my agents discovered that the distribution ring was operating from Gwinnett County to the north to Telfair County to south, and numerous other counties inbetween," said Butts County Sheriff Gary Long. "I made the determination to partner with numerous other local, state and federal agencies in order to dismantle this drug dealing organization and stop the destruction it causes."
Long went on to say that the investigation identified the main drug suppliers as Joshua Harrison from Spalding County, Kimberly Chapman from Meriwether County, Jimmie Evans from Henry County, and Drexel Harris from Laurens County. All four were among those arrested Friday and are now being held in the Butts County Jail.
During the investigation and arrests, law enforcement seized nearly 10 pounds of methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $225,000, numerous handguns and rifles, vehicles, stolen property, and more than $40,000 in cash.
Those arrested during the operation face charges ranging from trafficking methamphetamine to firearms charges, distribution charges, theft charges, and charges under the state's Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.