It's 55 for 55, a record of which local, state and federal law enforcement officials and prosecutors are most proud.
Fifty-five people arrested, 55 guilty pleas and 55 convictions in a Bourbon County drug trafficking case.
After the last defendant was sentenced Friday morning in federal court in Lexington, Kerry Harvey, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, heaped praise on the more than half-dozen agencies involved in the case, including the Bourbon County Sheriff's Office, Kentucky State Police and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as assistant U.S. attorneys, at a press conference at his office.
He called their efforts a textbook example of what can be accomplished through interagency cooperation.
"The evidence was such that all pleaded guilty without a trial," he said.
The case began more than two years ago after many Bourbon County residents complained to officials about criminal activity, particularly in an area known as The Hill in Paris. Authorities concentrated their efforts on Oliver's Grocery Store, operated by Mal Walton. He used the store, located two blocks from Paris High School, as a hub for drug trafficking. He had runners distributing narcotics in the area all hours of the day, according to Harvey.
The loosely organized drug dealers called themselves "The 148," after a term local law enforcement officers used on police scanners to refer to drug-related situations they were handling, Harvey said. Some of the dealers even had "The 148" tattooed on their bodies.
The 55 people, about 75 percent of whom had prior felony convictions, were rounded up by authorities in June. Most of the defendants were involved in dealing cocaine and crack cocaine. Authorities also seized 10 vehicles, a home, nearly $30,000 in cash, 23 guns, about 220 rounds of ammunition and two bullet-proof vests in the course of their investigation.
"In simple terms, the community spoke and we listened," said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer.
During the course of the investigation, there were three shooting incidents — none involving authorities, said Richard Putnam, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives resident agent in charge.
In the end, all but a handful of the 55 received prison time, including Mal Walton, who was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison. About half of the defendants were sentenced to five years or more in prison. Demarcus Hamilton Jones received the longest amount of time — 21.8 years.
All but one of the defendants were charged with federal crimes and sentenced in federal court. Those sentenced to time in prison have to serve 85 percent of their sentences before they are eligible for parole.
"We literally had people that were scared to go out on the streets when it got dark," said Paris Mayor Mike Thornton. That is no longer the case, he said.
"You can't play havoc on our community, and that's what this boils down to."