It took Sheriff Ken Fortune six months of undercover work to nab 22 people he says are selling crack and marijuana to people in his county. Now, several of those arrested will be spending Christmas behind bars.
It's business as usual on Chestnut Street as men hang around a local fish market getting warm by a barrel fire, but early Friday morning, this street was not picture perfect as sheriff's deputies and Monticello police officers from the joint drug task force arrested 22 people accused of being drug dealers.
"Jefferson is no different from any other place just smaller. We have a drug problem just like any other county has just smaller in number it just creates the same type of impact on this small community as it does Miami," said Sheriff Ken Fortune.
Neighbors in this small community say they are aware of the drug problem, but believe drugs are found predominately in other parts of the county.
"It's a fairly good neighborhood, drugs are everywhere. Just to say it’s on one street or whatever, but you wouldn't open a Day care center if you know drugs are being sold in that area,” said resident Tanyanekia Merritt.
"It's a very nice quite neighborhood, little children play their safe it's a good neighborhood," said resident Peter Wilson.
The bulk of the arrests were made on Chestnut Street, as suspected dealers got a rude awakening before the sun came up.
"If you're going to do your drugs go somewhere else because I don't want you ruining the kids in our county and our county because it takes it to the cesspool and we just don't need it," said Fortune.
Fortune says he had arrest warrants for 26 people, and 22 were arrested Friday morning leaving four on the run. The sheriff believes the other four individuals may decide to turn themselves in after the Christmas holiday, but if they're arrested before then they may be spending Christmas in jail.