Beginning before sunrise, nearly 100 law enforcement officers kicked down doors and tracked down suspects at large, carrying out the largest undercover police operation in Hopewell's history.
"I think this sends some shock and awe," said Police Chief John Keohane at a news conference Thursday. "We want people to know, no longer can you engage in criminal activity in Hopewell and rest easily."
The effort known as "Operation Impact," sought 64 suspected drug dealers wanted for 222 felony indictments.
The FBI and National Guard assisted the Hopewell Police Department, with the Virginia State Police lending a mobile command center, as well as intelligence and officers.
The operation was six months in the making, launched in response to families tired of drug dealers across the city. By noon Thursday, officers reported half the suspects had been arrested, and the operation would continue into Friday.
Asked if announcing the Operation would compromise the effort, Chief Keohnae said the suspects already knew they were wanted.
"At 5:30 this morning, I think the tip off already occurred," Keohnae said. "I had eight arrest teams with nine officers each, a total of 72 officers, converging on their targets."
Confidential informants played a major role in the arrests, and names of the suspects are expected to be released Friday.
A special grand jury returned all of the indictments March 13, with charges ranging from possession and distribution of narcotics, to conspiracy in the distribution of crack cocaine and marijuana.
The Hopewell Sheriff's Office, U.S. Marshal's Capitol Area Region Fugitive Task Force, ATF and Virginia Department of Corrections also contributed to Operation Impact.
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