Police begin roundup of 51 people in Harlan County on drug charges

Police began Friday to round up 51 Harlan County residents charged with drug crimes after a nine-month undercover investigation by Operation UNITE, according to a news release.

UNITE detectives, Kentucky State Police officers, and officers from the police departments in Harlan, Lynch, Benham and Loyall started arresting people early Friday.

By 1 p.m., police had arrested 29 people and were searching for others.

Most of the charges in the case involved selling the prescription painkiller oxycodone.

Several of those charged with selling drugs were habitual offenders, said Paul Hats, law-enforcement director for UNITE.