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More patrols on I-20 lead to drug bust

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AIKEN --- The seizure of $100,000 in marijuana by the North Augusta Department of Public Safety and the Aiken County Sheriff's Office marks the first major bust for narcotics officers since stepping up efforts along Interstate 20.

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North Augusta Public Safety Chief John Thomas (second from left), Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt (center), and other officers discuss the seizure of 57.2 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Monday night along Interstate 20 in Aiken County.   Corey Perrine/Staff
Corey Perrine/Staff
North Augusta Public Safety Chief John Thomas (second from left), Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt (center), and other officers discuss the seizure of 57.2 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop Monday night along Interstate 20 in Aiken County.

Topic: Aiken County Sheriff’s Office
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Officers arrested two North Carolina men during a traffic stop Monday night and charged them with trafficking marijuana.

The driver, Marco Aquirre, of Mount Holly, was initially pulled over for following too closely. Aquirre, 38, told officers he and Genaro Fraga, of Charlotte, were returning from a trip to Atlanta. When the men were separated for questioning about the trip, the details each gave about their trip were different, according to officers.

Officers found 57.2 pounds of marijuana and $600 in cash in a large black duffle bag in the back of the car. The men had tried to mask the smell with pepper, Public Safety Chief John Thomas said.

Since the drug interdiction team began in March, officers have made 18 drug arrests, four felony arrests and captured four fugitives, Thomas said.

"The need is there and there's not a whole lot of drug interdiction between here and Columbia," Thomas said. "We really need to invest in efforts."

Sheriff Mike Hunt said partnering with North Augusta was key to making arrests, in addition to keeping an eye on drivers.

"It stops accidents and traffic fatalities," he said.

Officers wouldn't release any information on where the drugs were headed, but said the investigation could lead to additional arrests.

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reader54
209
Points
reader54 06/09/10 - 05:45 am
0
0
This is nothing less than

This is nothing less than profiling and pulling drivers over on the "pretext" of committing a traffic crime. It's an opportunity to go "fishing" into a person's automobile. Following too closely? Give me a break. It's all good until it happens to you. You receive a bogus traffic ticket, in order to make things look legit, after they detain you on the side of the highway for hours while they dismantle your car. I had it happen to me in Louisiana in 1993 and it is fascism.The first thing that they did was raise my hatch-back and dismantle my interior roof. Three hours of searching paperwork and everything else to no avail. Then I get my traffic ticket and I am told to "get out of here" as if I'm the bad guy! The War on Drugs has stripped our civil liberties. For what? A little God-given herb. The ends don't justify the means.

Trey Enfantay
9
Points
Trey Enfantay 06/09/10 - 05:46 am
0
0
reader54 - Your whole

reader54 - Your whole argument/position gets thrown out of the window the moment they find a significant amount of contraband. Illegal is illegal. I'm glad they do it!

reader54
209
Points
reader54 06/09/10 - 06:29 am
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Trey: If you sling enough

Trey: If you sling enough arrows in the air, you will eventually hit a bird! What about the dozens that they "profile", detain and search and come up empty? How can you call yourself a conservative and agree with such nonsense?

Trey Enfantay
9
Points
Trey Enfantay 06/09/10 - 06:36 am
0
0
reader54 - If I had to hang a

reader54 - If I had to hang a label on myself, I'd choose "Conservative Libertarian". If they had taken them to the pokey for an onion or two, then I'd be up in arms too. However, 57lbs is a bit difficult to justify even in my warped mind. I agree with the arrows in the air analogy, but this time they were vindicated.

reader54
209
Points
reader54 06/09/10 - 06:35 am
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Trey: Correction. How can you

Trey: Correction. How can you call yourself a Libertarian if you condone these tactics? You can't pick and choose which liberties you want to protect.

corgimom
32257
Points
corgimom 06/09/10 - 06:45 am
0
0
reader54- they were

reader54- they were "profiled", all right. Somebody ratted them out.

reader54
209
Points
reader54 06/09/10 - 06:51 am
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Corgi: That's possible but

Corgi: That's possible but unlikely. If they were "on to them",they would have tracked them to their destination and apprehended their boss. Maybe they were decoys for a semi-tractor full of drugs a couple miles behind them. As we all know, the professional smugglers are crafty.

55 F-100
1
Points
55 F-100 06/09/10 - 09:12 am
0
0
Criminals are not very

Criminals are not very intelligent......that's why they're criminals. A traffic violation led to the traffic stop.....the criminals' body language showed that they were acting in a nervous manner.....when separated and questioned they gave differing stories about their trip......a search of the vehicle revealed the contraband.....the criminals are arrested and go to jail. Only one additional question that I have....were they illegal immigrants and did they have a criminal history (other than being illegal immigrants)? If so, offer them a plea, turn them over to I.C.E., and deport them.

Riverman1
83751
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Riverman1 06/09/10 - 09:31 am
0
0
Yep, a traffic violation did

Yep, a traffic violation did lead to the stop. Translate this article as Aiken and N. Augusta police are running speed traps on I-20. If they find some marijuana, they will use it to justify all the officers pulling people over for barely speeding. Remember SC doesn't have the 10 mile over law like GA.

Labatt
0
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Labatt 06/09/10 - 10:11 am
0
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All these salaries for some

All these salaries for some harmless weed. Leave the herb alone and go after the harder stuff.

blamar
0
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blamar 06/09/10 - 11:13 am
0
0
As someone who has been

As someone who has been profiled and stopped, I have no issue with it. The times this happened to me, I fit a definate profile (pattern of behavior) of a drug buyer. Once the deputy established who I was and that I had a legitimate reason for being in that neighborhood at that time of night, there was no issue. -You can't clean up drug problems/neighborhoods without going after the buyers as well.

confederate american
0
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confederate american 06/09/10 - 01:42 pm
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A drop in a never empty

A drop in a never empty bucket

corgimom
32257
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corgimom 06/09/10 - 01:50 pm
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Reader54- they would follow

Reader54- they would follow them to their boss? Do you think that they pull up somewhere in broad daylight and just start unloading their stuff? Do you think that any major drug dealer would risk being arrested by being so stupid as to pick it up themselves?

You've been watching too much tv and too many movies-and that's fiction.

The major drug dealers are smart- they didn't get to be major dealers by being stupid- and they don't come near it. They hire people to do it for them- and the people that they hire just get told "take a bag from point A to point B." When they are arrested, they don't know enough to do the police any good.

hellome
0
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hellome 06/09/10 - 03:02 pm
0
0
What a waste!

What a waste!

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 06/09/10 - 05:59 pm
0
0
I'm a 56 yo old conservative

I'm a 56 yo old conservative leaning Libertarian, or Libertarian leaning conservative, depending on whose political quiz I take. I agree with reader 54 that these are nothing more than fishing expeditions. I'm not opposed to them sniffing around if there is legitimate probable cause; but this one sounds fabricated to me.

corgimom
32257
Points
corgimom 06/09/10 - 06:43 pm
0
0
I lived in Augusta/North

I lived in Augusta/North Augusta for nearly 30 years.

How many people do you know that have been pulled over on I-20 for "following too closely"?

Me- nobody. Except for stuff like this.

Normally, people practically mow your hiney down, they are so close.

But I guess the NADPS is just lucky, lucky, lucky.

da-realist
8
Points
da-realist 06/10/10 - 08:02 am
0
0
I was pulled over on I20 in

I was pulled over on I20 in Greene county for what, didn't signal long enough when changing lanes. After a two hour search I was let go with a WARNING! Profiling is the case at hand, not traffic violations. If johnny law wants probable cause it will be created!

AutumnLeaves
7664
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/10/10 - 02:11 pm
0
0
A neighbor of mine was

A neighbor of mine was questioned as being a suspicious person while doing yard work in her own yard, in a home she had raised her family in for about 40 years and the officer asked her for ID! Reason: The officer told her that her neighbor (who had just moved in recently) had called reporting a suspicious person, and the officer's explanation for her opinion? "You have to understand, this is a traditionally black neighborhood." What a ridiculous, prejudiced excuse! Even if that were true, which it wasn't, apparently this was something the real estate agent told the new neighbor, which is against the law. Once the new neighbor called the police before even bothering to meet her neighbors, it became a form of harassment in my opinion. Talk about feeling unwelcome in your own neighborhood!

AutumnLeaves
7664
Points
AutumnLeaves 06/11/10 - 11:22 pm
0
0
BTW, Congratulations on the

BTW, Congratulations on the drug bust. That's good to hear about.

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