Thirty-nine people have been charged in the trafficking of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine and other drugs in Hancock County.
The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld, II, Hancock County Prosecutor James Davis, and Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher on Thursday.
In an operation that took place Thursday, 22 defendants were taken into custody. The sweep was led by the Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force with assistance from the Ohio Valley Drug Task Force of Wheeling, the Marshall County Drug Task Force, the Mountaineer Highway Interdiction Team, the Greater Harrison County Drug Task Force, and the United States Marshals Service.
Officials say the arrests have dealt a major blow to the drug activity that has plagued the areas of Chester and Newell for the past year.
In a press release issued on Thursday, Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher said, "We're fortunate to have such a talented and hard-working drug task force to serve the citizens of Hancock County. These men worked long hours to help to make the streets of Newell, Chester, and other communities in this county a safer place for everyone."
Of the 39 people charged, six are from Chester, ten are from Newell, eight are from East Liverpool, Ohio, four are from New Cumberland; three are from Weirton; two are from New Brighton, Pennsylvania, one is from Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, one is from Georgetown, Pennsylvania, two are from Mckees Rocks, Pennsylvania, one is from Wellsburg, one is from Colliers and one is from Wellsville, Ohio.