Manchester police arrest 81 on drug charges - WSMV Channel 4

Manchester police arrest 81 on drug charges

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MANCHESTER, TN (WSMV) -

The ills of pills and meth are ravaging small towns in Middle Tennessee.

That's why law enforcement are taking aim at dozens of suspects, but is the big push putting a big strain on local resources?

Manchester police have spent countless hours and thousands of dollars in a drug bust Thursday titled "Slow the Flow."

They know they can't stop drug use, but they are determined to cut off the dealers.

Police arrested 81 people in Manchester and charged them for selling drugs.

"It's everything. Factories, businesses, homes, residences, hotels, motels and near schools," said Manchester police Detective Billy Butler. "We made several of these cases near schools."

In one of the biggest operations, the Manchester Police Department seized more than 800 pills, 6 grams of cocaine, more than 220 grams of methamphetamine and more than 2 1/2 pounds of marijuana.

"Right now pain medication and prescription drugs are our main problem here in Manchester," said police Chief Mark Yother.

Police said the pills are being sold to make other drugs. Some of the dealers, police said, have been on TennCare.

"Out of the 81 people we got, maybe a third are on TennCare at one time," said Butler. "We also had one of the inspector generals with TennCare with us on one of these raids. We work closely with them on these cases."

Manchester police said they have more than 120 cases and 81 indictments. So far this week they've made more than 70 arrests and counting.

"We've spent $16,000 on this during this operation and unlimited hours," said Yother.

With all the arrests, it puts a strain on the Coffee County Jail. With the recent arrests, there are more than 300 inmates in the jail and only 196 beds.

Many inmates sleep on the floors and double up in the cells. The Coffee County Sheriff's Office had to purchase mattresses and linens for the inmates after the drug operation.

Officials have also met with judges and the district attorney's office to try to release inmates with lesser charges to make room for the more serious offenders.

The drugs seized have a street value of nearly $100,000.

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