Etowah County investigators serve warrants in Operation Sunrise - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Etowah County investigators serve warrants in Operation Sunrise

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Etowah County Sheriff's Office Drug Enforcement agents serving a warrant early Wednesday, November 6, 2013. (abc3340.com) Etowah County Sheriff's Office Drug Enforcement agents serving a warrant early Wednesday, November 6, 2013. (abc3340.com)
ETOWAH COUNTY, Ala. -

Drug investigators surprised dozens of wanted criminals in Etowah County this morning.
 
Many suspects woke up to deputies banging on their front doors, ready to take them to jail.

Investigators arrested 43 people between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the warrant round up continues.  Deputies also seized 1.5 pounds of crystal meth and some small quantities of marijuana.

The Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit called it "Operation Sunrise," and members were busy with preparations long before sunrise.
 
With 200 arrest warrants in hand for about 150 individuals, several dozen investigators headed out into the darkness to make some wake up calls.  The first knock on a suspect's door happened before 6 a.m.
 
"It's early, but the element of surprise is always good," district attorney Jimmie Harp said.

"I appreciate all these folks getting up early in the morning and coming to the call of their duties early.  We think we'll be successful today."
 
The drug task force does these round-ups every four to six months.  The coordinated effort includes sheriff's deputies, FBI agents, U.S. Marshals, and local police officers.  Investigators said making a wide sweep together at once is more effective than serving an individual warrant on a random day.
 
"We usually have a good success rate.  We're usually around 75% of apprehensions incarcerated and those cases will be ready to be tried and hopefully we can take the bad guys off the street," Harp said.

"The importance of it is to detain people who would prey on our children and community by bringing drugs into the county and committing other crimes."
 
Many face narcotics charges, and investigators said Wednesday's targets included some major players in the area's drug trade.  The strength in numbers approach helps when dealing with potentially dangerous criminals.
 
"It's always an objective of ours for our folks to be safe and to even keep the folks that we're trying to apprehend safe," Harp said.  "I think the objective this morning is to get the folks off the street and hopefully be safe while we do it."

Sheriff Todd Entrekin encourages individuals who are aware of a warrant against them  to turn themselves in at the Etowah County Sheriff's Office.

"The large majority of these individuals are repeat offenders," Entrekin said.  "We are doing our best to keep these criminals in jail in an effort to make our communities safer."

Investigators will continue making arrests as Operation Sunrise is ongoing.

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