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Dozens Arrested in ‘Operation Groomsmen’

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - As the sun rose on Friday morning, local and state law enforcement officers went knocking on doors, ending an 18-month undercover drug operation.

Arrest warrants for 38 accused crack cocaine dealers in and around the Florence area were being served.

“If you think of the crack cocaine trade in Florence and Lauderdale County as a loosely-defined organization, today we have arrested some of the middle managers and all of their sales team.”

According to Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler, for a year and a half, undercover agents have purchased more than $10,000 worth of crack cocaine from those arrested Friday morning.

In addition to the arrests, 27 vehicles were seized in the operation.

"We have completely disrupted the crack cocaine industry here in Florence and Lauderdale County," says Chief Tyler. "We haven’t stopped it, but certainly they are going to have to bring in new managers and they are going to have to train a new sales team. We have made a huge impact."

Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler says that at one house where an arrest was made, neighbors cheered as officers escorted an accused drug dealer from his home.

The Lauderdale County Drug Task Force says this morning’s effort was named ‘Operation Groomsmen’.

They say during the investigation, multiple drug offenders attended a wedding of two known drug dealers.

Agents say five of their suspects acted as groomsmen in the wedding party, and agents added that the bride and groom were both picked up Friday morning.