Lincolnton Police said they targeted more than 30 drug offenders Wednesday morning following a nearly three-month undercover investigation.
City officers, along with aid from Sheriff’s detectives John Propst and Frank Runyon, took to the streets in teams of two for Operation “Independence Day,” following a 6 a.m. briefing at police headquarters.
Each team maintained a packet of arrest warrants for individuals accused of using or selling drugs or both, investigators said.
The warrants are based on probable cause.
Police worked their way through city addresses while deputies crossed over into county territory in search of offenders outside the Lincolnton city limits.
The Lincolnton Police Narcotics/Criminal Investigation Division’s Detective D. McAllister and Sgt. J. Munday carried out numerous undercover deals from March through June in preparation for the operation, according to an agency press release.
Officers said they conducted some undercover work while simultaneously doing deals in advance of the department’s March roundup Operation “Rock Bottom,” in which 26 offenders were targeted.
Police said they never stop working undercover operations. The process is ongoing as investigators have already begun work on a third roundup, set for later this year.
The city agency will double their average number of yearly roundups in 2013, increasing from two to four.
Investigators hope the high frequency of drug operations will adequately warn criminals of the dangers of breaking the law and consistently remind them city officers don’t tolerate illegal behavior in the community.
In addition, police said operation preparation allows them to spend time focusing on the investigative process.
Smaller roundups are also easier to manage, they said.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office carries out additional similar operations throughout the year based on grand jury indictments. Since late 2010, the county agency has locked up more than 200 drug offenders, deputies said. Nearly 75 percent of the arrests stemmed from drug roundups that commenced mid-2011.
Police have also targeted more than 200 drug offenders in operations since December 2011.