Drug suspects from Hardin, multiple other counties rounded up in operation 'Atlas Falls'

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Hardin County Sheriff Johnny Alexander speaks with the media, flanked by Alan Hooper of the Savannah Police Department, 24th DTF Director Tim Meggs, Carroll County Sheriff Andy Dickson, and McKenzie Police Chief Ryan White.

A seven month, multi-office drug investigation dubbed “Atlas Falls” has resulted in 54 arrests so far, Hardin County Sheriff Johnny Alexander announced at a press conference Friday afternoon.

Among those arrested are nine from Hardin County.

Alexander said the arrests began Thursday in a roundup involving the 24th Judicial District Drug Task Force, along with the District Attorney’s office, Sheriff’s offices of Benton, Carroll, Hardin and Henry counties, the Savannah, McKenzie and Camden police departments, Tennessee Highway Patrol, 27th and 28th Judicial District Drug Task Forces, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Authorities were seeking a total of 76 suspects with 128 charges, and more arrests are anticipated.

An additional seven suspects were arrested on active warrants or new charges stemming from the roundup, according to Alexander.

He said agents have been making undercover drug purchases in the 24th Judicial District which includes Hardin County, as well as in Weakley and Gibson counties. Purchases were made of methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl, prescription pills and marijuana. New charges stemming from Atlas Falls include possession of fentanyl, meth, marijuana and possession of weapons.

“Watching all these agencies come together during investigations like this is amazing,” said Neil Thompson, district attorney general for the 24th Judicial District in a statement. “With the sentences we have been getting on drug dealers, these operations get drugs off of our streets and help clean up our communities.”

Authorities released a list of those arrested thus far. From Hardin County are:

• Xander Todd – two counts aggravated assault

• Virgil Deshazier – possession of Schedule VI with intent, possession of drug paraphernalia

• Janice Stevens – sale of Schedule II (hydrocodone), sale of Schedule IV (Xanax), four counts

• Tommye Andre – sale of Schedule II (methamhetamine)

• Danny Wells – three counts sale of Schedule II (meth)

• Phillip Tippet Jr. – three counts sale of Schedule II (meth)

• Larry “Mickey” Lynch – three counts sale of Schedule II (meth)

• Amy Rich – drug exposed child, and simple possession of Schedule III (suboxone)

• Kevin Zeigler – two counts sale of Schedule II (meth)