Officials to Arrest 111 People in Largest Drug Operation in Amherst Co.
UPDATE 5:45 p.m.:
Amherst Co, VA - "Operation Avalanche" from the Amherst County Sheriff's Office will arrest 111 people in what they're calling the largest drug operation the county has ever seen.
The Amherst County Sheriff's Office, along with Amherst Police Department, the Campbell County Sheriff's Office and the Central Virginia Drug Task Force carried out the arrests Sunday.
They began the roundup at 4 a.m., arresting people ranging in age from 16 to 68.
Officials say most of the people arrested are charged with selling drugs.
Sheriff Jimmy Ayers says the arrests are the result of several investigations that began in January 2012. He says some of the suspects were also charged with selling drugs 1,000 feet from a school.
"With drugs and the exchange of drugs, most the time comes violence. Luckily we haven't had an outburst of violence in proximity of one of these schools, but the transactions have taken place...and that's quite disturbing," said Ayers.
The sheriff says he feels positive about moving forward, but unfortunately this operation has only scratched the surface of the problem.
UPDATE: 3:37 p.m.
Amherst Co, VA - The Amherst County Sheriff's Department released more than 50 mug shots of people either alleged to be in the possession of drugs, or distributing drugs as part of their on-going program they call 'Operation Avalanche'.
We are posting the pictures as they come in.
Stay with ABC 13 News for more on this story as we get more information.
We will have a complete report coming up on ABC 13 News at 6.
Amherst, VA - The Amherst County Sheriff's Department Sunday is in the process of a mass arrest, serving and attempting to round up 111 people facing a total of 243 drug charges.
The arrests are part of what the Sheriff's Department is calling 'Operation Avalanche', and on-going effort to fight drug activity throughout the year, according to Lt. Greg Turner with the Amherst County Sheriff's Department.
Recently, a Multi Jurisdictional Grand Jury handed over indictments relating to the suspects, who are either alleged to have possession of drugs.
On December 7, the grand jury met in Bedford, and indicted many of the suspects and issued sealed indictments. The indictments are being served today as they are being arrested and booked.
This operation also includes eleven people who have already been charged as a part of this operation and are currently awaiting trial in Amherst.
Many of the suspects were taken into custody during surveillance operations. Additionally three search warrants were executed as a result of the overall "Operation Avalanche."
The individuals being arrested Sunday will be taken before a magistrate where bonds will be set. They will later appear before the Amherst County Circuit Court to have their trial dates set.
Since the felony charges were made by direct indictment, rather than on an arrest warrant, they will go straight to trial in Circuit Court.
A direct indictment is when an investigator appears before a grand jury and charges someone rather than appearing before a magistrate to obtain a warrant.
The Amherst County Sheriff's Department will be holding a press conference Sunday at 3 p.m.
ABC 13 has a crew on the way and we will have more details to come.
We will have a complete report on ABC 13 News at 6.