A yearlong undercover operation by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office culminated with nearly 50 arrests Thursday and included the seizure of two meth labs, 11 firearms and more than $13,000 cash.
Investigators have drawn up 100 arrest warrants charging 69 defendants with drug and weapons violations as part of “Operation Silent Sweep,” Sheriff Barry Faile said Friday. So far, 45 people have been charged, the majority of which were arrested Thursday, with charges running the gamut from possession to trafficking.
Several of the defendants were arrested prior to Thursday, Faile said. Some of those arrested Thursday are accused of possession of illegal drugs and face charges for additional offenses.
The operation yielded 139.4 grams of cocaine, 15 grams of crack cocaine, 201 grams of marijuana, 183 grams of heroin, and 43.5 grams of methamphetamine, Faile said. Two meth labs were discovered during the operation, and investigators also seized 488 doses of narcotic prescription medications including oxycodone, morphine, methadone, Xanax, Adderall and suboxone.
Faile said investigators also recovered 11 firearms – some of which were stolen, two vehicles and $13,704 in cash. During Thursday’s sweep, one suspect ran into a room in a home where investigators found several guns.
“Any time you deal with folks like this that are on drugs and have weapons, it’s extremely dangerous for the officers and the community,” he said.
The sting focused on suspects known for drug possession and distribution, and on complaints of criminal activity made by county residents, Faile said. Additionally, officers were assisted by confidential informants.
The “drug of choice” when the operation began was meth, but the sheriff said that shifted to heroin and prescription drugs, especially after 37 people were indicted by a state grand jury last year following another undercover operation that targeted meth cooks and producers.
“Drugs continue to be a problem in America,” Faile said. “Drug use and the drug trade fuel all sorts of other criminal activity. ...We are now dealing more with the use and abuse of heroin and prescription medications. Our officers will continue to pursue intelligence and complaints about drug offenses and arrest those who violate our drug laws.”
Anyone with information about this or any other case or the location of any of those still being sought should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or www.sccrimestoppers.com.
Go to heraldonline.com for video and a list of suspects