CLEVELAND -- U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach says 72 people have been indicted for allegedly selling cocaine in Northeast Ohio, the most ever indicted in a single drug bust.
Dettelbach said raids took place with more than 350 agents from the FBI, IRS, Cleveland police and the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force.
Offiaicials said the drugs were brought in from Georgia, sent through Kentucky and then ended up in Northeast Ohio.
Federal officials say 70 arrests were made, and 16 people are still at large.
Dubbed "Operation Northwest Express," Dettelbach said that's almost double the number of agents who fanned out four years ago July 28 for the Cuyahoga County corruption probe.
The 97-count indictment charges all 72 with allegedly selling powder and crack cocaine and also charges 4 people with shooting and robbing a Euclid man.
Federal officials tell Channel 3 that 14 additional people were indicted on state drug charges, bringing the overall total to 86 people.
Some of the arrests were made in Cleveland City Councilman Mike Polensek's ward and he said that many of the offenders had been selling drugs since they were juveniles.
He said those arrested were "...two-legged rats. Many of them have bought homes in respectable neighborhoods and then sold drugs in other locations."
Councilman Kevin Conwell said that families and businesses moved out of his community because of the constand drug dealing.
Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath said, "a major blow has been dealt to drug trafficking in this area."
Dettelbach said "Criminal activity laid out in this indictment shows the lengths people will go to to sell drugs but it should also underscore our commitment to fighting back."