Our area has witnessed an increasing drug problem for the last several years, but, thankfully, there are some who are doing what they can to fight back.
We saw that much a couple of weeks ago when U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld, Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher and other regional law enforcement officials announced federal and state charges had been filed against almost 40 individuals.
The drug charges had been the result of an investigation taking place in the area since September, and when they were announced, most of the individuals had already been located and taken into custody.
Most charges stemmed from the distribution of heroin, methamphetamine, crack and powder cocaine, marijuana and oxycodone in Hancock County.
These are some of the most commonly available drugs in our area, and we are glad to see such a large crackdown on the local drug trade.
Led by the Hancock-Brooke-Weirton Drug Task Force, this investigation is proof of the efforts of our local law enforcement agencies, both in their own individual communities, as well as in their cooperative efforts across the region.
The investigation included extensive surveillance and numerous controlled purchases of narcotics over several months.
We know it can be offputting to see such investigations take so much time; however, this is one of those cases where it is better to take the time and make sure you have all the information you need instead of rushing in and potentially having mistakes happen.
We congratulate all the officers and officials who were involved in this investigation and the arrests for their hard work and success.
We are sure this will not be the end, and more arrests will be on their way in the future.
It is unfortunate the drug trade has gotten to the levels it has, but at least we can be proud to know there are those who are constantly looking for ways to fight back.
We can only hope these investigations continue until the use and sale of drugs has been completely wiped out from the Ohio Valley.