Local law enforcement handed out 71 indictments last week and made 59 arrests Friday as part of a drug operation months in the making.

Operation “Methamfelony” started about 10 months ago with agents making undercover purchases of narcotics in the community and using “confidential sources” to gather information, Brendan DeBoer, Ninth Judicial District Drug Task Force lead agent, said.

Buys began with meth and then moved into heroin, crack and prescription drugs, DeBoer said.

The roundup was the largest to date in Loudon County. A similar effort in 2017 resulted in 55 arrests.

“Short term, we hope that the community gets some relief,” DeBoer said. “A lot of these drug dealers and drug users are out there on a regular basis committing other crimes. … So the property crimes, the thefts in Loudon County, we hope to get some relief to the community.”

While DTF and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation were the two main agencies involved in the background of last week’s roundup, other agencies assisted on the day of the arrests.

Agencies involved included Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Lenoir City Police Department, Loudon Police Department, Knoxville Police Department, Harriman Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol, 7th Judicial Drug Task Force, United States Marshal Service, United States Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Loudon County E-911.

“This has been an impressive operation, a well-planned-out and well-oiled machine — one that should be a message to Loudon County that if you do drugs, sell drugs or possess drugs, especially heroin and meth, in Loudon County, you will get caught and you will get brought to justice,” Tim Guider, Loudon County sheriff, said.

There still are warrants out on several individuals who have not been arrested, and DeBoer said many of those are known to be out of the state.

Once all arrests have been made, between 150-200 cases worked by the DTF will be closed, DeBoer said.

“It’s a huge accomplishment to close that many cases basically on one day,” he said.

During Thursday’s roundup, officers seized three ounces — about 85 grams — of meth, one indoor marijuana grow with about 25 plants and three grams of heroin.