Local law enforcement officials disclosed Friday that Sevier County Sheriff's Deputy Phil Barney played a major role in the recent arrests of three people suspected of drug trafficking in the Midwest.

An investigation into drug trafficking between San Diego and Detroit began when Barney stopped a motorist on a routine traffic violation investigation along I-70 and discovered 188 pounds of marijuana in the vehicle.Barney later traveled to Detroit with the man and his drug money to help authorities there set up a sting operation. The man said he had been paid $2,000 to transport drugs.

In Detroit, undercover officers leased a car that was identical to the one that the courier had been driving when he was arrested in Sevier County and attached the real license plates. During the operation, men suspected of drug dealing led officers on two high-speed chases in the Midwest.

The investigation resulted in the arrests of three men suspected of being drug suppliers and distributors from California, Michigan and Ohio, according to Sevier County officials. They face federal drug charges.