CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Police seized deadly drugs in an area-wide drug bust that saw the arrest of over 17 people, with what police said have ties to the Mexican drug cartels.

The U.S Attorney released a 22-page indictment with a slew of drug and gun charges against 19 people.

It all went down in and around the Charlottesville area. The bust was on Cleveland Ave. in Charlottesville Wednesday morning.

The big find was 1.7 kilograms -- or up to 850,000 lethal doses -- of fentanyl.

"That's enough to kill the entire population of Charlottesville and Albemarle County combined five times over," U.S Attorney Chris Kavanaugh said.  

He said they seized 20 guns, including sawed-off shotguns and assault rifles, 1.7 kilograms of powder fentanyl, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, a pound of meth, 5000 fentanyl pills, over 70 thousand dollars in cash and a couple of cars.

"The drugs seized during this operation came mainly from out of state such as California, and many of the transactions can be linked to the Mexican cartels," Jared Forget with the DEA said.

The drug bust, called Operation Rock Bottom, started in March of 2023.

"The DEA in collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement partners are working hard to systematically dismantle street gangs and drug trafficking networks that cause violent crime and death," Forget said.

"Over 2023 Investigators purchased over 30 pounds of narcotics from this organization,” Kavanaugh said.

Two people identified during the sting are still at large. Kavanaugh says they should be in custody soon. Their names won't be unsealed until they have their first appearance.

Among the 17 people in custody are:

  • DuShaun Lamont Gregory, 36,
  • Tyquane Pertell Gregory, 27
  • Fields Devon Landon, 29
  • Bobby Eugene Christmas, 36
  • Michael Edward Cornett, 29
  • Antone Laron Harris, 41
  • Brooks Lorenzo Woodfolk
  • Ashlee Renee Morris, 37
  • Shaheim Taishaun Michie, 18
  • John Ellis Turner III, 42
  • Gary Wayne Woodson, 66
  • Caleb Andrew Herndon, 26
  • Dashard Brown, 29
  • Cedric Trent, 25
  • Dustin Lee Welch

"Twenty firearms. That's 20 firearms that are not on the streets today in the city of Charlottesville. Over 1000 grams of fentanyl. That's 1000 grams of fentanyl and all that are not on the streets of Charlottesville today. Over 6000 pills and fentanyl. Those pills aren't in a school in Charlottesville today," Charlottesville Police Chief Michael Kochis said.

This was all part of the collaboration between law enforcement agencies called Project Safe Neighborhoods that was launched this spring.