Sixteen people were indicted this week on 63 drug charges brought by the Lincoln County Drug Task Force, and authorities expect to start making arrests in the next few weeks.
Most of the charges are possession with intent to sell and deliver. Some are charged with selling and delivering, said Lt. Gene Sain, a member of the task force.
During the three-month operation, a number of drug buys were made by working with someone who was cooperating with the police and willing to testify, Sain said.
Most of the buys made were crack, but a few were powder cocaine, Sain said. The busts involved street-level dealers who were working individually, not as part of an organized group.
Sain said the three-month effort went relatively quickly for the type of operation it was.
â€œA lot of things had to fall into place, and fortunately on this one everything worked out good,â€ Sain said.
During a drug campaign, one mistake can cost the whole operation, he said, forcing authorities to wait months before starting up another effort.
Sain said the informantâ€™s cooperation was one reason for the quick campaign. And the task force felt it had made all the buys it could using that man.
Sain said the county is seeing an increase in drug use, which means an increase in sale and the number of people who are dealing.
Even though this recent bust is smaller than the task forceâ€™s usual, itâ€™s considered a success, Sain said.
â€œAnytime we can get a few off the street, weâ€™re accomplishing something,â€ he said.The Drug Task Force is a combined effort by the Lincolnton Police Department and the Lincoln County Sheriffâ€™s Office. Along with Sain, detectives Rick Lynn, Debra Stewart and Steve Molnar make up the force. by Alice Smith