Two-year probe has led to 291 arrests
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 21, 2014) — Last week, Lexington police began wrapping up a nine-month investigation, called Operation Transformation, that focused on illegal drug activity in the east end of downtown Lexington.
So far there have been 55 drug arrests, with six sealed indictments pending.
“This narcotics investigation has been essential in addressing the violence we have seen most recently. We find that in a majority of situations where gun violence is involved, illegal drugs have played a role,” police chief Ronnie Bastin said. “Last fall we took the pro-active step of putting this investigation in place, with the goal of slowing the damage drug suppliers and sellers are doing in our community.”
Operation Transformation builds upon three other investigations conducted over the past two years. Illegal drugs are the focal point of three of the four probes; fraud is the subject of the fourth.
The investigations together have led to 291 arrests, and the seizure of $615,000 worth of drugs and cash.
Operation Transformation, which began last October, is a three-phase investigation, with a focus on street-level drug trafficking. In Phase One — October 2013 through April, 2014 — police made 25 arrests, mostly of people who were selling crack cocaine, and conducted 11 field interviews.
In Phase Two, 18 arrests were made and, with the scope of the investigation expanding, 44 field interviews were conducted. One focus of Phase 2 was some of the businesses where drugs were being bought and sold.
Last Thursday, officers served 11 of 17 sealed indictments that had been issued by a grand jury as a result of Phase 3 of Operation Transformation. The indictments included 25 charges of first degree trafficking in a controlled substance; 8 persistent felony offenders; and two first degree counts of possession of a controlled substance. Police have served 11 of the indictments so far and made 13 arrests.
“We have taken nearly a dozen of the most prolific drug dealers, violence creators and trouble makers off the streets with these arrests,” lieutenant Scott Blakely said. “We are proud of the progress made, and will continue to make cases and work to improve the quality of life for citizens in Lexington.”