A months-long drug sting led to the arrest of 32 South Carolina residents on Aug. 31, according to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies are still tracking down 20 more people as part of the operation.
Authorities obtained the arrest warrants after agents allegedly made a series of undercover drug purchases between March and July. Some of the drug sales reportedly took place near schools or parks, including Barr Street School, South Side School, Kershaw Elementary School, Buckelew Park and Stafford Belk Park. Of the 50 arrest warrants issued, 39 were for men and 11 were for women. Two extra defendants were taken into custody during the initial bust.
The 32 defendants in custody, who range in age from 17 to 71, have been charged with various drug crimes. These crimes include the distribution of various illegal drugs, such as heroin, oxycodone, methamphetamine, alprazolam, marijuana, clonazepam, cocaine and crack cocaine. They also include possession with the intent to distribute, distribution near a school or park and possession of drug paraphernalia. Some defendants were also charged with firearms crimes, including possession of a firearm during a violent crime and possession of a stolen pistol.
Drug charges like drug trafficking and possession with the intent to distribute can lead to long prison terms and hefty fines for individuals who are convicted. However, a criminal defense attorney could represent a defendant in court and work to get drug charges reduced or dismissed. For example, the attorney could challenge evidence and cross-examine witnesses to undermine the prosecution’s case. In other circumstances, legal counsel may recommend negotiating for a plea deal that reduces the charges in exchange for a guilty plea.