"Operation: Surprise" sets its sights on dozens indicted suspects

"Operation Surprise" arrests more than 40 people in Claiborne County. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

NEW TAZEWELL, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Authorities in Claiborne Co. planned to start rounding up dozens of individuals starting Friday after the Grand Jury indicted them Thursday on a total of more than 300 charges.

According to Claiborne Co. Sheriff David Ray, the 72 people they hope to capture face charges ranging from passing counterfeit money and robbery to child and elderly abuse to drug charges.

The indictments, which were handed down on Wednesday, were a result of a multi-agency effort, dubbed "Operation: Surprise."

"There's plenty more that we'll pick up. It takes a while to get the evidence examined by the TBI to see to see exactly what the contents of those items maybe," said Sheriff David Ray. "It's just a war like it is all over the state and in other states. And it's another battle."

Those arrested are set to be taken to the Claiborne Co. Jail until they can post bail. Their arraignments are already set for Wednesday, December 19.

Ray says the drug round up is part of an undercover operation that happened from January to July. He says agents are still collecting evidence and will have another roundup day soon.

Bruce Wayne Seward

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