Police said the area has a history of drug trouble including methamphetamine trafficking and marijuana growing in its forested valleys between steep hills and ridges.
"That part of the county, it has its ups and downs. We'll get a lot of complaints of drug activity," said Manchester Police Chief Jeff Culver. He said officers last month rounded up 40 drug suspects, mostly dealers, and made several more arrests in subsequent days.
Dee Davis, president of the Center for Rural Strategies in Whitesburg in southeastern Kentucky, said Clay County is impoverished and has a "pretty wild history of a black market economy, a drug economy."
"I don't think there is any deep-seated hatred of government there," he said. "Government is not seen as the enemy, except for people who might fear getting caught for what they're doing."
Davis said it was a dangerous time of year for someone to go knocking on doors because marijuana producers are typically harvesting their crop. "It would be reckless."
"Things can go bad really quickly," Davis said. "There are places that you would not send a Census worker this time of year. "