Multiple arrests were made Tuesday by the El Dorado Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies.
Fifty-six warrants were issued and 28 people were arrested by Tuesday afternoon with more anticipated to follow in the coming days according to police chief Curt Zieman. Seven were already in jail for previous crimes.
The chief declined to answer any questions at a press conference Tuesday due to the ongoing nature of the case. He did say that more information would be available at a later date.
The arrests are the result of an operation that began in February of 2015. Zieman said most of the work on the case had been done from November 2015 through February of 2016.
There are 84 cases total resulting in the 56 warrants. One person died before charges against him or her were filed. The following charges will be brought by the county attorney’s office. They are, 43 counts of the sale of methamphetamine, five counts of sale of methamphetamine within 1000 feet of a school, 24 counts of the sale of prescription pills, 11 counts of sale of marijuana, two counts of the sale of cocaine, two counts of the sale of a controlled substance, and five counts of the use of a communication device to facilitate a drug sale.
Officers from Andover Police Department and the Butler County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the arrests.
“An operation this large stretches resources to their limits, but our people stepped up to the challenge,” Zieman said. “The investigation of these cases was a true team effort involving all members of the El Dorado Police Department, and I think them for their dedication to our community. I would like to thank again the agencies who took part in the roundup and who assisted with the roundup.”
Assistant County Attorney Brett Sweeney said his office will be trying the cases, but they have no additional information at this time.
El Dorado Mayor Vince Haines said he found out about the arrests plans this morning. He knew about the investigation, but like the rest of the citizens of El Dorado did not know details.
“I appreciate the cooperation between other departments in working with El Dorado to pursue and follow up on these arrests,” Haines said.
Haines said that the scope of the case disappoints him, not because of the work the police department has done, but because of the scale of the drug use in El Dorado.
“I don’t want to be naive that this wasn’t going on, but I was surprised at the number of arrests,” Haines said. “It’s definitely significant.”
In the past the city commission has approved and supported drug training for El Dorado police officers and promotes community policing by the department to discourage drug use and sales within the city.
“They do an excellent job in staying connected with the community,” Haines said of the police department.