A large drug bust in Fayette County Thursday morning uncovered an extensive drug-trafficking network that spans all over the east coast; however, to law enforcement this was no surprise.
The operation on Thursday demonstrated how drug dealers from cities hundreds of miles away are taking advantage of the state.
Fayette County Sheriff, Mike Fridley,said during the historic drug bust, they arrested a handful drug dealers linked to places, like New Jersey and South Carolina.
“They are the bosses, they are the generals who are passing the drugs down to the lieutenants in our area, or the captains more or less,” Fridley said.
Why are these smaller communities such easy targets for big time drug dealers from urban areas hundreds of miles away? To start, Fridley explained West Virginia highways are like a pipeline, pumping drugs into the region.
“They’re using our highways..Route 19 runs from where? New York, New Jersey, all the way down to Florida. It’s a main roadway,” Fridley said.
According to Assistant Special Agent, David Gourley, with the DEA in West Virginia, drug dealers from over-saturated markets, like Detroit or Dayton, Ohio, see an opportunity for profit here.
“For instance if you’re selling a pill in Detroit for $25, you may be able to come to West Virginia and sell that same pill for $50,” Gourley said.
Fridley said that makes it easy for out-of-state drug dealers to take advantage of the people who are already struggling in West Virginia communities.
“We’re a poor state for one, compared to these other states,” Fridley said. “It’s hard to find jobs around here for people and what’s going on is we have the people who are addicted to drugs that we need to help, but we need to get rid of the people who are bringing the poison in and that’s what we did yesterday.”
The operation on Thursday led to nearly 100 arrests, but Sheriff Fridley said they are still looking for 18 more individuals in Fayette County.