According to a statement from Chris Plaster, the Tazewell County commonwealth’s attorney, the arrests came as a result of a months-long investigation. The Tazewell County Narcotics Task Force began “Operation Mouse Trap” in January, Plaster said.
“This name was chosen because, just like the mouse observing the trap, realizing what might be at risk, these dealers have continued their reckless, illegal behavior despite the clear risks that it posed to them, and, eventually, due to their greed and the hard work of our Narcotics Task Force, they fell into our snare,” Plaster wrote.
Plaster said with the help of informants, four people were identified as suspected drug dealers.
“Through controlled buys of narcotics, the execution of search warrants and the arrests of just four individuals, these individuals being major narcotics dealers, the totals are staggering,” according to the statement.
The following items were seized from the suspects:
- $125,908.00 in U.S. Currency
- 33 ½ pounds of methamphetamine
- 3.5 ounces of Heroin
- 7 grams of crack cocaine
- 10 grams of Psilocybin
- Various Prescription Drugs (awaiting lab analysis)
- 51 firearms, including 1 fully automatic weapon
- Body armor, ammunition, magazines and knives
Plaster said the estimated street value of the narcotics seized tops $1.5 million.
“Just to have this amount of dangerous narcotics off the street is an amazing blow dealt to the drug trade here in Tazewell County,” Plaster said. “One of the targets of the operation confessed that he alone purchased up to $50,000.00 per week in methamphetamine just to turn around and sell that amount for profit.”
Plaster said it was not just the amount of cash and illegal drugs seized that he found “shocking.”
“Some of the information uncovered during this operation is concerning, and, in many ways, scary,” he said. “At least one of the four individuals arrested as part of Operation Mouse Trap was taking deliveries directly from a drug cartel. In fact, some of those deliveries were brought right here to Tazewell County by members of the cartel.”
All four suspects face up to life in prison, according to the commonwealth’s attorney.
Plaster thanked the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office, Richlands Police Department, Tazewell Police Department, Bluefield Police Department, and Virginia State Police for their contributions to the investigation.