WHEELING, W.Va. — Two grand juries have indicted 31 people, including 23 West Virginia residents, for their roles in a multi-state drug trafficking operation.

The juries handed down the rulings on April 3 and June 5 in connection with the scheme in Wetzel and Tyler counties.

According to U.S. Attorney Bill Powell, the operation primarily dealt with crystal methamphetamine, though cocaine and heroin were also trafficked.

“It’s a problem with crystal methamphetamine, which has now infiltrated this part of the state,” he said. “We’ve had this problem for a while and an ever-increasing problem in the Potomac Highlands, the Randolph County, Grant County, Upshur County area. And now we see it here in the Northern Panhandle.”

Powell said the people were all connected to the same operation, which went from Columbus, Ohio, to as far south as Atlanta. He added issues with crystal methamphetamine are different from the state’s heroin problem because the drugs are shipped into the region and are associated with violence between users.

“It creates a whole different type of problem for our district,” he said. “We’re trying to stomp on it quickly and harshly before it gets too much of an intrenchment into our district.”

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