18 People Arrested in Heroin Bust, One Still Loose

Year-Long Investigation Leads to 18 Arrests for Heroin Trafficking in Sumter

heroinSumter Police, with the help of the Sheriff’s Office and the DEA, arrested 18 people in the first week of April after a long investigation into a heroin trafficking operation.

Sumter officers say they are still looking for one more suspect.

“It has an impact on quality of life of our entire community,” Sumter Police Chief Russell Roarke said.

The joint investigation was headed by the Sumter Police Department and involved the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with support from the Orangeburg Police Department, the SC Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, Immigration Services, and Homeland Security. The investigation was initiated after Sumter police received a large number of complaints about heroin use in the city between April and May 2013.

“After receiving the information, identifying several suspects, city officers began to make buys across the city,” Roarke said.

By Friday, April 4th, Sumter police had arrested 14 suspects, and over the weekend, 4 more suspects turned themselves in.

Heroin is a growing problem not just in Sumter, but nationally, and many experts believe that it is related to prescription painkiller abuse. Opioid drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone offer similar highs to illegal opiates like heroin.

“We’re noticing this uptick and we think it’s partially because the difficulty for others to find illegal pills and are using heroin as a substitute drug for that. It’s cheap, it’s readily available,” Roarke said.

“Addicts when they use the syringes they don’t care about the use of it and a lot of diseases are transferred one to the other,” Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said.

“I will say that this does not close the chapter nor does it close the book on us continuing to pursue those individuals involved in illegal activities,” Roarke said, “We very well may in fact continue to work other cases that has come off of this case in the future.”

During the heroin trafficking arrests, officers also seized 11 grams of crack cocaine, 27 grams of cocaine, 7 grams of heroin, 15 grams of marijuana, and $9,877 in cash.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Drug Charges from Simple Possession to Heroin Trafficking

The penalties for a drug trafficking conviction in South Carolina are severe. Your rights, freedom, and future are at stake.

Trafficking charges are based upon the weight of the drug you are in possession of:

  • Ten grams of cocaine
  • Four grams of heroin
  • Ten pounds of marijuana

Penalties for drug trafficking can include a minimum sentencing of 25 years. Trafficking and distribution offenses are considered violent, no-parole offenses and a conviction can certainly have you serving the full time you are sentenced to.

Drug charges, including methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or prescription drugs, need to be examined from every angle, and in many cases are subject to mandatory minimum sentences. Aggressive representation can protect your future. Drug crime charges and drug busts in South Carolina are very serious. If you have been charged with possession, trafficking, or manufacturing drugsthe attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so contact us today by calling (803)252-4800.

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