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Huntington Drug Raid Hopes to Cleanup Crime in City

HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) - A major drug raid in Huntington known as Operation Saigon Sunset is taking a huge strain off of Huntington Police officers, who for months have been working to keep up with the steady flow of drugs into the city.

The Peterson network has been operating in the city for 15 years, but Tuesday it's top leaders were arrested.

This isn't the first drug bust in Huntington, but this time is different- police are working to take back their city.

"Huntington I believe is a safer city today than it was when this day began. And we'll continue to be vigilant to ensure this city stays clean and gets cleaner," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Mike Stuart said.

Operation Siagon Sunset locked up both the Detroit supplier and the Huntington distributors. Police hope it will not be tough for addicts to find their next fix.

"This wasn't all show, we actually took down a network. And that's important, it's been operating for a long time. So we're going to choke supply as much as we can," Stuart explained at a press conference Tuesday.

It was a massive operation, involving more than 150 officers, so that meant the potential for danger. Some raids even took place near bus stops.

"We're looking at the overall safety of those children, and when we remove violent drug offenders from their neighborhood. They're not just around those folks who have guns during our exercises- they're there 24/7," Interim Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial explained.

A local school briefly went on lockdown, but Dial says this entire operation is about making the future safer and brighter for Huntington's children.

"Anytime that we have something that will be close to a school, and it may not be putting the kids at risk, but we may not want them to see police action because it can be a little scary," DIal added.

Now that so many high-level targets have been taken down, Hank Dial says he'll be moving his officers around so they can continue to best protect the city.

"Everything we do is data-driven. We look at where the crime is, where the crime potentially will be and we assign folks according to that data," Dial said.

Arrests continued through the morning, and more operations like this are expected in the coming months. Police ask for the city's continued patience and support during these raids.


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