A joint effort by law enforcement officials from Georgia and Ohio led to the arrest of 70 suspected drug dealers last Wednesday, in Muscogee County. The undercover operation, set to become the largest in the last 20 years for the county, was led together by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the Metro Narcotics Task Force, the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office and the Columbus Police Department.
According to a news article posted on The Ledger-Enquirer’s website, Police Chief Ricky Boren of the Columbus Police Department and Sheriff Ralph Johnson of Muscogee County acted on complaints from area residents over the increasing narcotics trade in public housing developments and requested assistance from the GBI. The GBI, with its extensive experience in organizing and conducting large-scale undercover stings, brought in additional funding for the operation to the tune of over $120,000; some from their grant money as well as some confiscated drug money.
The undercover investigation had officers successfully posing as drug buyers in 2006 and then tagging 100 street-level drug dealers for arrest later. Bill Malueg, deputy director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, reportedly said that by the completion of the entire operation 80 more arrests are likely to be made and over 400 drug-related charges filed. The investigation that has been ongoing for the last 10 months has also netted drugs and weapons and led to the identification of an additional 30 drug dealers.
An operation such as this, while having the potential to deliver sensational results, is also enormously complex and requires the greatest level of coordination. Needless to say, just about any number of things can go wrong during such a massive operation involving several law enforcement agencies, a variety of witnesses and informers.