TARBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 20 suspects have been busted in an operation that began in Edgecombe County last year, officials said Monday.

So far, of 23 people, 16 are in custody as part of “Operation Middleman,” Edgecombe County Sheriff Clee Atkinson said in a news release.

Atkinson the busts were targeting “lower- and mid-level drug dealers.”

Deputies are still looking for seven other suspects, who already have arrest warrants filed against them.

Those arrested and charged in the operation range in age from 26 to 62, according to arrest information.

“These dealers are the ones that are responsible for getting the drugs into the hands of our sons, daughters and friends,” Atkinson said.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON: