photo by W. Clay Crook / The Lexington Progress
Article by W. Clay Crook-
At 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, District Attorney General Jodie Pickens of the 26th Judicial District released information on Operation Big Red Ice at the Criminal Justice Center in Henderson County, Tennessee. With him were Henderson County Sheriff Brian Duke and Lt. Victor Stanford, Lexington Police Chief Roger Loftin and Captain Jeff Middleton, Assistant District Attorney Angela Scott, and Special Agent Jay Barnes of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
“As we speak, eleven of the eighteen indictments have been rounded up and brought into custody,” Pickens said, “with the rest expected to be apprehended throughout the day.”
The indictments on methamphetamine and heroin related charges began with investigations in Henderson County culminated with the eighteen indictments being handed down by the Henderson County Grand Jury on March 31, 2021.
There was a multi-county and multi-agency effort among law enforcement, including the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department, the Lexington Police Department, the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department, the Huntingdon Police Department, the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department, and elements of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
DA Pickens said that although the arrests are local, they are tied into a system of drug cartels that reach into Mexico. Almost all of the meth in the West Tennessee area is manufactured in Mexico and brought into Tennessee and other parts of the country by these cartels.
Pickens said that there has been a 792% increase in meth in the state of Tennessee, with 154 cases being submitted to the crime lab from Henderson County in 2019 and another 120 in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Henderson County Sheriff Brian Duke said that the investigation is ongoing and that the arrests will not stop with these 18 indictments but will expand as leads continue to develop.
Additional details on the arrests are pending a release from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
For additional coverage and arrest details, see the April 14th edition of The Lexington Progress.