published Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Marion County authorities arrest 19 of 24 wanted for drug crimes

JASPER, Tenn. -- A 14-month undercover operation in Marion County is over, and 19 people wanted by county and city authorities found themselves snatched up by sheriff's deputies this week.

"We do good when we can get these people off the streets," said Ronnie "Bo" Burnett, Marion County sheriff, on Friday afternoon.

Burnett said that two weeks ago the sheriff's department presented the Marion County grand jury with 24 names of people inside the county found to be involved with illegal drug activity during the undercover operation.

Then this week, authorities around the county -- including city police departments -- were able to arrest and book 19 suspects into the Marion County jail, as of Friday.

Burnett said the county has "two or three" big drug busts a year. Some of the suspects apprehended this week were given a pre-set bond by the grand jury and already have bonded out. Some will have to see a sessions judge next week because of additional charges, such as meth manufacturing and prescription drug offenses.

It's a double win for the county, Burnett said. The bust got drugs and users off the street, but it may have also prevented future trouble.

"They create a lot of other crimes," Burnett said.

Police and sheriff's deputies are trying to track down the five other suspects from the indictment list. Most of the suspects will have court dates after the beginning of the year.

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