33 arrested in Wythe County drug operation

Grand jury issues indictments for over 50 people
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 7:46 PM EDT
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WYTHE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - Thirty-three people are in police custody after a drug roundup in Wythe County Wednesday.

WDBJ7 was invited to ride along as the Wythe County Sheriff’s Office, Wytheville Police, Claytor Lake Task Force and Virginia State Police set out to arrest more than 50 people accused of distributing drugs in the county.

“There’s usually five to eight guys in a group that goes out to round these people up," said Chief Deputy Charles Foster. “Narcotics officers with the sheriff’s office had made several controlled buys there recently so that’s how they knew who we were after.”

They broke into four groups and spread out around the county for Operation Spiderweb.

“One of the best reasons is to try and get them early, you’re more likely to find them at home, you’re more likely to find them at rest or in the bed," Foster said. "It’s just easier to locate them first thing in the morning.”

Investigators say the county struggles, like much of southwest Virginia, with a drug problem. Many of the people arrested Wednesday were allegedly connected to meth distribution.

“When a drug dealer sees other drug dealers going to jail, that’s gotta have some sort of impact on them," said Sheriff Keith Dunagan. “What the guys did today is dangerous and it takes special people to get out and do that.”

Dunagan said the meth they find in Wythe County is coming from Mexico. I-81 and I-77 meet in the heart of the county, making it easier to get into the community.

Foster said he is hopeful an operation like this prevents overdoses and drug addictions in the community.

“It’s hard telling how many lives you saved when you do something like this and it’s a result of all of the good work that’s being done by the task force, the sheriff’s office, the state police and the Town of Wytheville," Foster said. “I hope that they’ll take light of what’s happened today and see what people have been arrested around them. They might think twice before they use or sell any illegal narcotic.”

Click here for the list of those charged so far. Right now, police say 33 arrests have been made with over 70 charges for Operation Spiderweb.

Police say they will continue working to find and arrest the others listed in the indictments from when the grand jury met Monday. Not everyone was home when they stopped by for an early visit Wednesday.

Although police say it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all drugs in the community, they say every little bit helps. The sheriff’s office works closely with community groups to educate and help get drugs off of the streets.

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