MARSHALL COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) - Dozens of Mississippi criminals were surprised with an early morning wake up call Friday. The Marshall County Sheriff's Department spent hours leading a massive round up serving felony indictments. The aim was to make as many arrests as possible before the word got out.
The crimes committed vary from theft to assaults, but most are drug related. A few indictments were top secret, kept quiet for a year or more because of ongoing drug investigations.
"The vast majority of the ones arrested this morning had no idea they'd be arrested," said Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
"It's been a long day," says Major Kelly McMillen. "We started rolling pretty early this morning." That, he says, was so they could have the element of surprise on their side.
A group of about 50 local officers, state patrolmen and federal marshals combed the county rounding up criminals. "The more help we have, the less likely we are to encounter resistance," Dickerson tells abc24.com.
They separated into teams, knocking on doors, making arrests. "The quicker we can respond to those addresses and make notification, it's a lot easier to get them into custody," McMillen agrees.
"Some of people arrested today have the potential for violence if they had the upper hand," explains Dickerson.
More than two dozen arrests were made by mid-morning. The department is looking for almost three times that many criminals.
"It's not as successful as it sounds," McMillen says. "When you've got 80 or 90 warrants you're trying to get served and you only have 25-30 people in custody, but it is making a dent in it."
Dickerson says 75 - 80 percent of the county's criminal activity is drug related, specifically "crystal methamphetamine and cocaine related," he says. "A few have been ongoing cases, some of them for two to three years."
"We take pride in doing our job. Particularly in taking these drug dealers off the streets."
The department will put the word out on whatever arrests aren't made Friday. Deputies perform these big roundups about once a year and say it may take time, but they eventually catch everyone. As our cameras were leaving several suspects showed up to turn themselves in.