Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nicholas Hermann said federal arrest warrants have been issued for more than 50 people allegedly involved in a meth-trafficking ring that funneled the drug into the area from four other states.
Hermann said authorities seized 74 pounds of uncut methamphetamine representing more than 134,300 single uses of the highly addictive stimulant during the course of their two-year investigation.
That meth is worth more than $3.3 million on the street, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.
Eight of those named in the arrest warrants remain at large, including a Vincennes man who had been held in Georgia but escaped federal custody this week while being returned to Indiana.
Prosecutors said six of those arrested have been charged with attempted murder after reportedly kidnapping a man in December and attacking him with a hammer at an Evansville intersection.
Hermann said the investigation focused on Evansville’s Jimtown neighborhood, just north of the city’s Lloyd Expressway, and authorities relied heavily on tips from residents.
While Hermann said he’s confident the probe has put a dent in the short-term supply of crystal meth in the Evansville area, he expressed concern that it may spur a surge of homemade meth, which had declined last year as meth flooded the region from outside areas.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Brookman, who works out of Evansville, said the individuals named in six federal indictments obtained meth from sources in Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee and California, and several of those indicted were residents of those areas.
Brookman said meth has become such a scourge in southwestern Indiana that the probe is just the beginning of efforts to combat the local meth trade.
“It's a terrible, life-destroying drug. People become desperate and they are willing to do anything for it,” he said.