Deputies scoured the streets of Lincoln County this morning, looking for alleged drug offenders in the seventh round-up initiative the Sheriff’s Office has carried out since 2010.
Narcotics investigators spent several months conducting surveillance and carrying out undercover drug buys on the 60 suspects targeted by this month’s effort, according to a Sheriff’s Office press release.
Each of the individuals has been accused of using, selling or delivering illegal substances such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and prescription pills.
Together, the charges total more than 200 and have been filed against suspects ranging in age from 15 to 67, deputies said.
Following a 5:30 a.m. briefing today at the law enforcement agency’s headquarters in Lincolnton, teams of narcotics officers, detectives and deputies with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office traveled throughout the county with a chief goal of arresting as many suspects as possible.
Earlier this month, a Lincoln County grand jury indicted the individuals, both street-level dealers and large-scale traffickers, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Less than a quarter of the suspects have a history of drug charges, according to the release.
Lieutenant Jason Reid, head of the Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Unit, said most of the investigations tied to the roundup have stemmed from citizen tips and the aggressive work of Sheriff David Carpenter’s administration.
“Our success over the past four years is credited to the proactive approach put in place by Sheriff Carpenter,” he said in the release, “and the never-ending tips phoned into our tip line by the community.”
Individuals are encouraged to call the county agency’s Drug Tip Line at (704) 736-8422 with information related to possible area drug activity.
The phone line remains open 24/7, and tips may remain anonymous.
“We urge all citizens to phone in any tip regardless of the details they can provide to our investigators,” Reid said.
The law enforcement leader said he considered one of the primary goals of his position to be locating and arresting “the scum that continues to plague” Lincoln County with illegal drug activity.
“It is my goal as Sheriff,” Carpenter said, “to continue these efforts and hopefully send more (offenders) to prison for longer periods of time. Words can’t really express how proud I am of the professional work of the officers…and what they continue to accomplish each day.”
Past county drug roundups have included Operations “.38 Special,” “Midnight Special,” “Route 66,” “Rolling 50,” “Top 40” and “52 Pickup.”
The initiatives have together targeted more than 300 suspects.