Harlan County conducts drug trafficking roundup

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 11:24 PM EDT
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HARLAN CO., Ky. (WYMT) - The Harlan County Sherriff’s Office teamed up with five other agencies to conduct a drug trafficking roundup on Monday.

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6

Since taking office in January 2023, Harlan County Sheriff Chris Brewer said there have been roughly 90 drug trafficking cases.

“Drug trafficking is probably the worst I’ve seen it in Harlan County,” Brewer said. “There are several reasons behind that. For one we’ve got a wide open border. Drugs are so cheap that its just flooding across our border ... It’s something that we have to get proactive, try to put a dent in it right now before it overwhelms us.”

It is a problem that community members are fed up with.

“We have to rely on a lot of citizens,” Brewer said. “The community, the good people out here that’s making the stand for their community. Without them we couldn’t do it.”

The Harlan County Sherriff’s Office teamed with Harlan City Police department, Loyall Police department, Evarts Police Department, Lynch Police Department and Constable Scotty Moore to go after 20 people reportedly involved in drug trafficking.

“The communities are just being ridden with drugs,” Brian Napier of the Evarts Police Department said. “Me and the sheriff’s office came together really and just decided to try to put a dent in it, you’ll never stop it. But the citizens deserve to see a proactive police department in the county to combat it.”

Brewer developed three ways to address drug related crimes in Harlan County, through education, enforcement and recovery.

“There’s no way that we are going to be able to arrest ourselves out of this problem,” Brewer said. “It’s gonna take time, It’s not gonna be something that’s over night so that’s why I’m really big on doing things with the youth, educating them. If we’ve got a group of 10 kids and 1 out of ten were successful in making sure they don’t go into a drug lifestyle then its worth it.”

Brewer said the sheriff’s office has offered free rides to rehab and work to help addicts get on a path to recovery.

“I think that’s just as big as {round ups},” Brewer said “because we’re not just going to arrest ourselves out of this problem.”

The sheriff’s office also worked with educating the youth and cracking down on people who are repeat offenders.

Sheriff Brewer said, while they are pleased with the work they did on Monday, there is still more to be done.

“We have got several more, {Evarts police department has} several more so I want these traffickers to be dwelling on that until we do our next one, when its their turn,” he said.

Brewer hoped these drug roundups will occur every quarter of the year.