A former Lincoln County drug dealer, whom narcotics investigators said served as the largest heroin supplier in the county at one point, was sentenced Thursday to up to seven years in prison.
A judge ordered Dustin Vice, 28, of Iron Station, to spend between 70 and 84 months in a state prison facility for trafficking heroin or opium, the Clerk of Court’s Office said.
Prosecutor Micah Sanderson considered the trial, which commenced on Wednesday, a “straightforward case.”
Investigators arrested Vice in May 2011 after locating nearly 5 grams of heroin inside his Iron Station residence, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies said they seized six individual bags of the illegal substance in the incident.
The Department of Social Services also responded to the home regarding drug complaints, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Following his arrest, Vice was jailed under a $57,000 bond.
He later moved to Gaston County upon his release, investigators said.
Although complaints about him selling heroin continued to come into the county’s Drug Tip Line, investigators said all they could at the time was refer the tips to Gaston County police.
Sheriff’s Lt. Jason Reid, head of Lincoln County’s narcotics division, felt Vice received a just sentence.
“The punishment fit the crime,” he said.
Sheriff David Carpenter believed the defendant, and criminals who commit similar drug crimes, should be jailed longer.
“I’m glad Vice received an active sentence,” he said, “but I wish that serious traffickers such as him would be put in prison for a much longer time. Some day we are going to have to keep these blights in society put away for a long, long time, or we are never going to win the war we are fighting.”