Originally created 09/12/98

Officials make 39 arrests



Law enforcement agents arrested 39 area residents on possession and sale of narcotics charges in a two-state drug bust Thursday night, and more arrests are expected, police said.

The arrests capped a nine-month investigation coordinated among the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, Aiken County Sheriff's Department, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Richmond County Sheriff's Department and the FBI, along with the support of the South Carolina Army National Guard, said Tim Pearson, public affairs officer of the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, which was the lead agency in the investigation.

About 11 p.m., officers began serving arrest warrants on people in Augusta, North Augusta, Aiken, Midland Valley, Belvedere, Warrenville, Gloverville, Clearwater, Graniteville, Langley and Bath.

"They all have something in common and that is that they were all distributing drugs," said Lt. Pearson.

Six of those arrested were federally indicted and FBI agents have transported them to Columbia.

Cocaine, crack, marijuana and prescription pills, along with two firearms and one vehicle, were seized in the arrests. Lt. Pearson wasn't sure of the amount of drugs seized in the bust.

Lt. Pearson said that agents had purchased drugs from those arrested on various occasions and bought more than average amount of drugs, adding that many of the purchases were made within a half-mile of Aiken County public schools.

Lt. Pearson said he anticipated several more arrests would be made as soon as law enforcement agents can serve warrants, but would not say how many more arrests would be made in connection with the investigation.