Authorities charge 22 in Butler Co. drug sweep - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Authorities charge 22 in Butler Co. drug sweep

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

A show of force as dozens of officers arrest suspected drug dealers across Butler County on Wednesday morning.

One arrest played out differently, though.

Christopher Garrett, 42, of Poplar Bluff, turned himself in to authorities on Thursday. Officers say thanks to viewers sharing his photo, he said he couldn't stand the pressures of social media.

He turned himself and then bonded out.

Officers say they went after a man on a motorcycle because the plates came back to one of their suspects. The rider turned out to be the wrong guy, but his decision to run from officers means he's going to jail too.

Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley identified the owner of the bike as Garrett. Whiteley called Garrett a major dealer.

While the suspects may be local, authorities say the heroin and ice they're accused of being involved with is not.

Butler County Sheriff Mark Dobbs calls it the latest twist in a drug fight that's constantly changing.

"The meth lab is not as common as it used to be,” Dobbs said. “Now we see imported drugs coming in from on the highways mostly and things like that.  From out of state, out of the country, from down south.”

Investigators say that's led to a rise in heroin use, and the effort to ship it in to communities across the Heartland.

A more than two year investigation brought federal, state, county, and local officers together to make this first round of arrests in Poplar Bluff and across Butler County.

"These are people who are dealer level.  This wasn't just the addict or the person who has a problem with drugs," Dobbs said.

Weapons drawn, officers went from house to house--looking for suspects already indicted by a grand jury.

It's a step, Dobbs said, that leads to quicker justice.

"This actually leap frogs the first level of the court system and puts it in to the high court right off the bat."

Chief Whiteley wants to thank the 70 officers who assisted in the operation from the ATF, DEA, Butler County Sheriff’s Department, Sikeston Department of Public Safety, Cape Girardeau Police Department, Office of Probation and Parole, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the SEMO Drug Task Force. 

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