GEARY COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- A investigation by local and state authorities that spanned the past year has resulted in 90 arrests and the seizure of drugs, cars and guns.
Officials say it's the biggest drug bust in decades- possibly ever- in the Manhattan and Junction City area.
For the past 13 months, the Geary County Attorney's Office, Geary County Sheriff's Office, Junction City Police Department, Grandview Plaza Police Department and Kansas Bureau of Investigation have been investigating a crack cocaine ring. Officials shed light on the massive operation during a press conference Thursday at the Junction City Police Department.
"What comes along with crack is the violence and burglaries, thefts and so on and so forth. I think making an impact like we have and arresting the individuals that we did over the last two days makes a significant impact on the violent crime that occurs in Junction City and the property crimes in Junction City. Many individuals that are addicted to those particular types of drugs are going to commit crimes to buy those drugs," said Junction City Police Chief Tim Brown.
"Last year, Junction City had a 13% increase in crime. So something is attributed to that and we think one of those things is narcotics. We all work very diligently on a daily basis to make our community safer and I think we’ve all made a big impact on crime in the communities that were involved," he added.
Undercover agents and officers, confidential informants and surveillance were used during the drug probe, dubbed "Operation ADABAG."
Working on intelligence they developed on the streets, drug units in Riley and Geary county worked with the KBI to bring down the drug ring.
"Late in 2012, about October as I recall, was when we started to identify that this was a significant ring that was operating in our area distributing crack cocaine and I think at that time was when we really started to look hard at this organization," Chief Brown explained.
The investigation culminated over the past two days in the execution of numerous search and arrest warrants at residences in Junction City, Manhattan, Grandview Plaza and Ogden. More than 180 members of law enforcement were involved in the operation.
The agencies arrested 90 people and additional arrests are expected.
During the 54 search warrants, 16 firearms, 18 cars were seized. Crack cocaine was also seized along with other illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia.
"Crime repeats itself. Our aims to is to prevent the repetitive nature of these crimes and if you allow them to go on, they go on unimpeded. Hopefully, this will put a dent and will slow things down and people will see the impact that it will have in the future," said Geary County Attorney Steve Opat.
"If you’re a taxpayer in one of the communities involved here, this is what you pay for. You got your money’s worth today. It’s not every place you can go and see people work together like this and if you’re one of the bad guys, just know that no matter where you are, you really can’t hide. You get on the radar, we’re going to work together to find you. That’s what the public expects and we’re happy to do that," added Brad Schoen, Director of the Riley County Police Department.
Officials said 17 children were also displaced during the operation and have been placed in protective custody. In some cases, both of their parents were arrested.