by Victor Lopez
ANDREWS--Multiple law enforcement agencies teamed up before dawn Wednesday morning, to rid the streets of Andrews of drug traffickers. NewsWest 9 cameras, the only ones rolling, as officers hauled some bad guys to jail.
Of the 40 warrants officers had to serve, close to 30 individuals ended up in custody. As for the rest, Andrews Police Chief Bud Jones says, they'll keep looking for them until they're all caught, "Today's not the end, it's the beginning of another go round. We'll never stop going after them."
Armed with stacks of drug trafficking warrants, local and federal law enforcement officials did what ever it took to get their man.
"I owe it, all of us owe it to this community, to do everything we can to rid it of drug traffickers. It's our job. It's our responsibility. As long as I'm able to do it, that's what my intentions are," Andrews Chief of Police, Bud Jones, said.
According to Jones, drug trafficking has picked up in West Texas and the Permian Basin since the governor got rid of drug task force programs across the board, eight years ago. That's opened up the corridor from the border to the north.
"We had no way of really being effective in controlling drug trafficking without some sort of a regional task force. So, we sat here for six years with little or no help," Jones said.
Wednesday's round up comes as a result of a similar operation in 2008 that landed 14 people in jail on drug charges. Until recently, these investigations were being paid for by city and county money. Not any more.
Chief Jones tells NewsWest 9, "We spent a considerable amount of money combating drug traffickers, but it's worth every dime that we spent. It shows what happens when agencies cooperate. DEA has stepped up to the plate and been very instrumental in providing funding."
Jones added drug trafficking has created an issue that has touched every corner of the community. He's concerned that people's values have changed. But he finds comfort in knowing he's got help to fight the battle.
"The fight's not over, because drug dealers, they don't quit. They pass the torch on to someone else. It's our job to be here and snuff out that torch. It makes me feel better. It makes me realize that I'm not, that we're not fighting this battle by ourselves," Jones said.
The charges range from state jail felonies to first degree felonies. If found guilty, the suspects face from 2 to 99 years behind bars.