MAYFIELD, KY (KFVS) - Five men are in custody on felony drug and gun indictments in McCracken and Graves counties in Kentucky.
Area officials credit much of the success of these men being behind bars to collaboration between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies they are calling Project Safe Neighborhoods.
United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky announced in a press conference in Mayfield today that the program is aiming to bring down the amount of gang, drug, and gun related crime in the area that left 1,565 Kentuckians dead last year.
Mayfield Chief of Police, Nathan Kent said he reached out to state agencies when they started to find more drugs coming through the area. He says there's more crystal methamphetamine in the area but they don't believe it's mostly manufactured locally, but rather is smuggled in through cartels in Mexico.
Chief Kent says once they started looking more into drug dealing in the area, they began to find more illegal weapons in the area, which brought in federal agencies like the DEA and Bureau of Tobacco and Firearms.
He said getting the help wasn't all that difficult.
"This was just as easy as making a few phone calls, explaining the problem, explaining what our game-plan was, and what resources that they could provide that we didn't have ourselves," he said.
Chief Kent said they started collaborating with PSN around March, 2017, since then there have been multiple offices where all three local, state, and federal level agencies work together to clean up the streets.
The collaboration has made it possible to go after more high profile criminals and do it more efficiently according to Chief Kent.
“We intentionally didn’t focus on a street level dealer, but rather went for the larger actors,” he said. “The pace of the investigation has accelerated as we’ve bottle-necked towards indictment and now the prosecutorial phase.”
Although they've started to make progress, law enforcement agents involved in PSN know the work is far from over. However, they want criminals to know that.
“If you’re someone that’s thinking about filling the void that’s been created by these indictments,” Chief Kent said. "Then you can expect similar results as these indictments that we’ve announced here today.”