NEW ALBANY —
In what New Albany Police Chief Sherri Knight called the largest drug bust in the city’s history, 47 warrants were issued and 38 suspects were picked up in an early-morning raid Wednesday.
Those arrested face a variety of drug charges, from dealing marijuana and controlled substances, and some for being habitual offenders. As of Wednesday afternoon, 32 of the 38 arrested were being housed in the Floyd County Jail while the other six were picked up in other cities. Warrants were issued in “the city and beyond” according to Knight including Louisville and Indianapolis. The arrests come after a six-month investigation.
Besides city police, others agencies involved in the morning raid included U.S. Marshals, Floyd County Police, Indiana State Police and Indiana University Southeast police.
“We will continue to aggressively pursue those who commit crimes in our community,” Knight said.
Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson echoed those comments, saying there will be a price to pay for those individuals who deal drugs in New Albany and Floyd County.
“People who come into our community and deal drugs will be sent to prison,” Henderson said. “We will continue to take the fight to the streets.”
Henderson said drugs continue to be a problem in the area. He said there were 20 overdose deaths in both 2012 and 2013 in Floyd County. And through the first two months of 2014, there have already been seven drug overdoses.
“That is significantly high. Any overdose is too much,” Henderson said. “This is not just an exercise is futility, this is real.”
Several of the arrests occurred on New Albany Housing Authority property and within 1,000 feet of a school which carries an added charge.
Henderson said there were a variety of drugs being dealt by the individuals.
“There was a high percentage of marijuana. Heroin increase is what we have seen in the last year or so,” he said. “Heroin has exceeded prescription drug abuse.”
He also said state and federal lawmakers should not be trying to work on legislation to lower the penalty for drug dealers.
“Penalties do not need to be lowered,” Henderson said. “We need to be diligent in getting these people off the streets.”
Both Henderson and Knight agreed the bust was a significant one, for any community, especially Floyd County.
“Like the chief said this is one of the largest ones in the community. We will continue to go after these dealers,” he said.
Knight is confident the nine who had not yet been located Wednesday soon will be.
“Our officers will continue to investigate, locate these people and take them into custody,” she said.