HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WCHS/WVAH) — Several federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have arrested dozens of people in a massive operation to target heroin and Fentanyl in Huntington.
In a news release Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart announced the arrests of several drug traffickers and others related to drug networking. Stuart was joined by other law enforcement agencies during a news conference Tuesday morning at the Huntington Police Department.
“It is believed that today’s events will result in dismantling of a major drug trafficking network,” Stuart said. “Let me point out, today’s arrest was not a matter of picking up addicts or picking up folks who were corner store drug dealers. This was a matter of trying to change supply here in the city of Huntington and throughout Southern West Virginia.”
Officials called Tuesday’s raids “Operation Saigon Sunset” that resulted in at least 450 grams of Fentanyl taken off the streets. Stuart said the amount is enough to kill more than 250,000 people. Stuart said Tuesday’s actions is believed to have dismantled a major multi-state heroin and Fentanyl distribution network, the Peterson Drug Trafficking Organization. The investigation revealed the trafficking organization had been operating in Huntington for nearly 15 years, trafficking large amounts of heroin, Fentanyl and cocaine from Detroit, Mich.
At least 15 people involved in the trafficking organization have been charged in a federal indictment to distribute heroin and Fentanyl. Fifteen people were indicted Monday in Cabell County Circuit Court on state charges and authorities said additional members of the trafficking organization will be arrested and charged in Detroit, Mich. Thirteen people were charged in a federal indictment who were involved in narcotics and/or firearms and at least 48 people were targeted for various narcotics, violent crimes and firearm-related charges in the federal or state level.
In March, Stuart announced the formation of Project Huntington that partnered federal, state and local law enforcement to combat the opiate epidemic and violent crime in Southern West Virginia.
More than 200 federal, state and local law enforcement officers took part in Tuesday’s effort.