Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies have added at least 22 more inmates to the detention center since Wednesday morning after knocking on county residences and handcuffing alleged drug offenders living inside.
The effort was part of the agency’s fifth drug roundup, Operation “52 Pick Up.”
Sheriff David Carpenter praised Lt. Jason Reid for heading another successful and “well-orchestrated” effort.
Since December 2010, when Carpenter took office and placed Reid over the narcotics division, the department has rounded up more than 300 street-level dealers and sent a clear message to the community that illegal substances have no place in Lincoln County.
“Drug dealing in any form will be taken seriously,” Carpenter said. “We will…seek out and apprehend these offenders, and citizens can look for more of these roundups…in the coming months.”
Routine patrol units will also continue to search for and arrest the remaining individuals still wanted in the operation.
Among those escorted to the county jail early Wednesday included 21-year-old Johnathan Steven Johnson, of 3199 Loomis Street in Lincolnton.
SWAT officers rapidly filed out of their “jump out” van and broke down the door to Johnson’s residence around 5:30 a.m., taking just a couple of minutes to secure the home. During a search of the residence, deputies located a synthetic drug and form of ecstasy known as “molli” or “molly,” Reid said.
The substance is fairly new to the drug world, according to investigators.
Following the search and drug seizure, an arrest team escorted the man out of his home and into the back of a patrol vehicle, before hauling him off the magistrate’s office, where dozens of other suspects eventually joined him. One particular suspect at the courthouse shouted to officers and media personnel that he had been “wrongly incriminated.”
Johnson’s currently being held under a $40,000 secured bond for possessing a schedule I controlled substance, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, the Sheriff’s Office said.
The Times-News was not only present for the SWAT raid but also followed arrest teams to various other homes across the county, including two residences where the indicted individuals were not present.
On the other hand, deputies successfully located 33-year-old Jessica Louise Weathers at her home on Rustic Trail in Lincolnton.
When asked by accompanying media outlets if she was aware of the charges filed against her, she stated, “I haven’t done anything.”
Narcotics investigators said the operation’s 52 offenders have bought, sold and/or used a variety of controlled substances during a nearly six-month long undercover investigation.
Marijuana, cocaine, heroin and prescription pills were among the items deputies said they encountered.
The Sheriff’s Office said deputies also used the operation to arrest individuals who owed a controlled substance tax. A special agent with the North Carolina Department of Revenue assisted deputies in serving the tax warrants.
Previous Lincoln County drug operations have included “Rolling 50,” “.38 Special,” “Midnight Special” and “Route 66.”