Nearly two dozen St. Joseph residents face federal charges stemming from a two-year investigation into drug and firearm trafficking.
The U.S. Attorney for western Missouri said Wednesday that 21 St. Joseph residents are among 25 defendants indicted by a federal grand jury in six separate cases.
Investigators say it was an extensive and intricate illegal operation that flooded the small town with crack-cocaine, powdered cocaine, marijuana and weapons.
Prosecutors say the investigation began in October 2010 as a response to an increase in violent crime in the area.
More than 100 federal and local law enforcement officers were involved, forming a group called Operation Family Feud comprised of the Buchanan County Sheriff Office, St. Joseph Police Department and ATF Special Response Team members.
Authorities made their move this week, arresting and indicting the suspects ranging in age from 19 to 55.
"I raised my 19-year-old here. We walk late at night sometimes, and you don't want to have that in your neighborhood," one woman said who live in a neighborhood under investigation.
Each of the six indictments was returned under seal by a federal grand jury Wednesday and became public after the arrests and initial court appearances of several of the defendants.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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