BATH, NY. (18 News) - Local law enforcement is calling it Operation Safe Summer.
At 4:30 this morning, multiple law enforcement agencies teamed up to conduct a major raid that netted 10 arrests in connection with a four month-long drug investigation in Steuben County. The individuals were taken into custody on charges related to trafficking narcotics, methamphetamine, and other controlled substances.
"The Bath Village Police Chief - Chief Mullen - and his organization in particular have been spotlighting the drug problem in the Village of Bath because it endangers their citizens and damages their quality of life, and across the board, that's why we're addressing this problem to such an extent here in Steuben County. People are dying, people are getting addicted, crimes are happening, and drugs are a real problem," Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker said.
Although this was a single sweep of arrests, each target will be tried individually and could face up to 15 years in prison.
A total of 26 indictments were issued against 19 individuals...meaning 9 of them are still on the loose.
Officials say there should be no cause for concern, however, because the targets are likely either in hiding or on the run.
"The public is in no danger at this point from any of these people that we're after, because they want to stay away from the public and they want to stay away from us, but we'll get them. It's just a matter of time," Walt Mackney, District Attorney's Investigator said.
Despite ongoing countywide drug enforcement efforts, some residents are unconvinced, claiming drug abuse has become a bigger issue.
One Bath resident told me, "It's gotten a lot worse. When I was growing up, the big thing was pot and now it's meth. You walk through the streets and the park and you see needles everywhere."
Another resident - a recovering addict himself - says it's the location and disposition of the town that makes it a target for drug abuse.
"We're kind of close to the city, they can get it a lot cheaper and bring it down here and sell it. A lot of people are poor that live down here so, they're depressed and they end up using drugs to cope with it," Malachi Bush said.
The D.A. says the diversity of the drugs sold and the violent nature of the traffickers are what disturbs him the most.
Officials had fierce words for the drug dealers coming into the county.
"These people aren't strangers to us. We know who they are, we know where they are, we know when to expect them. And there are a lot more folks we know about too, so if you're dealing drugs in Steuben County, be aware, you may be the star in our next sweep," D.A. Baker said.
Law enforcement stressed that the public is their biggest ally in the fight against drugs. 844-DRUG TIP is the Steuben County drug tip hotline and the public is encouraged to call in with any information that may help with the investigation.
The names of the 10 arrested individuals are as follows:
Frank L. McCray, age 47
Gerald D. Iverson, age 48
William J. Trenchard, age 37
Gordon H. Clayson, age 47
Jessica A. Austin, age 34
Joseph R. Bennett, age 31
Carl J. McCoy, age 50
Zachary D. Fulkerson, age 27
Sean Riley, age 32
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