42 Arrested in “Operation Spring Break” Drug Round-Up

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ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- Investigators found about half of the people they were looking for during Wednesday's drug round-up acros Etowah County.

Etowah County Drug Task Force commander Rob Savage said 42 people were in custody by noon Thursday, and that others aware of warrants turned themselves in the afternoon.

Sheriff Todd Entrekin said the round-up, titled "Operation Spring Break", was originally scheduled for the middle of March, but severe storms delayed the sweep.

Deputies, police, and federal agents went door to door targeting suspected drug dealers, armed with 115 warrants for 87 people.  Most were felonies committed since January 1.

"When we can impact an individual who's dealing with eight or ten people, versus one person who has a problem... we think that's the most effective strategy in this particular type of investigations," commander Savage said.

It wasn't the typical early morning surprise.  These round-ups often start before sunrise, when more suspects are expected to be home, but Wednesday's was in mid-afternoon.

"We try not to get into too much of a pattern," Savage said.

"Try to break it up from time to time, as we do quite a few of these, three or four a year."

Investigators seized several weapons during searches of some of the homes, including two stolen firearms, and they recovered some stolen electronics and other items as well.

Deputies who raided a house on Laura Drive in Attalla found an active methamphetamine lab Savage described as being larger than usual.  Investigators obtained additional warrants on that home and had to call in back up officers to process the scene.

"You saw a very professional response by law enforcement officials and I think you probably saw the huge turnout in law enforcement officials yesterday," Savage said.

"I think that sends a very clear message that this is a priority for Etowah County, law enforcement and our sheriff and our chiefs have set a standard that they expect to be met.

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