Kentucky State Police’s ‘Black Friday’ Drug Operation Falls Short of Goal

A Kentucky State Police operation to apprehend a record number of drug traffickers has fallen short of its goal.

Touted in a press release as having arrested 479 targeted drug traffickers, news outlets across Kentucky ran with the numbers even though “Operation Black Friday” has arrested just 339 suspects.

Trooper Paul Blanton explains the miscommunication.

“It may have been the arrest teams calling in ‘Hey, we arrested one person for three different charges,’ and they counted those three charges not as one single arrest but as three arrests, and that’s how they got to that 479. But I just don’t know,” Blanton says.

Related: Kentucky ACLU Criticizes Large-Scale Police Targeting of ‘Low Level’ Drug Suspects

Although the operation was billed as the largest one-day drug roundup in agency history, the bulk of the arrests were made over the course of the past month. KSP spokesman Trooper Paul Blanton says despite falling short, the Black Friday operation is the largest operation led by the agency.

A third of the targets remain at-large, and might still be caught,” he says.

“There are still arrest warrants out there. It’s just the nature of the people that the arrests warrants are for: They’re transient; they’re not staying in the same place,” Blanton says. “Once several, or once one of the people they normally do business with ends up going to jail, you know, that makes them kind of try and get under the radar.”

Blanton did not say how much the operation cost, adding that the Black Friday operation would continue until however long it takes.

The vast majority of the charges served are for trafficking a controlled substance.

Blanton says Black Friday will continue until the remaining 143 suspects are apprehended.

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