Weekend drug raids fruitful for the Marion County Narcotics team - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Weekend drug raids fruitful for the Marion County Narcotics Task Force

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Early morning drug raids prove fruitful for the Marion County Narcotics Task Force Saturday. The task force, aided by the Columbia Police Department and Sheriff's Deputies seized a vast range of narcotics, nearly $6,000 cash, and put 22 accused dealers behind bars.

"Drug sales are up there's no doubt about it", Marion County Sheriff Berkley Hall said Monday. The interdepartmental task force met pre-dawn, serving warrants to search and seize documented drug dealer dwelling. The joint operation subdued suspects without incident, and is the culmination of long-term investigations.

Hall says, "This is something that from beginning to end can take up to a year and a half." The task force initiates search warrants where recent intelligence points to high drug activity. "They type the search warrant up and then of course a judge has to sign it, so does it take a little more time, is it fruitful? Yes."

So fruitful that in one location, the operation seized almost six thousand dollars in cash, various drugs including crack and powder cocaine, and weapons. "We've done fairly well, or we've done real well this time," Hall says.

The investigation is now in the hands of the judiciary as the 22 suspected dealers make their initial appearances in justice court Monday. Including county employee Lonnie Haynes. "There was a road foreman that worked for Beat 5 that was arrested. Of course like I said, we don't discriminate. It doesn't matter who it is. If we make a buy off you you're going to be arrested," Hall says.

Bond amounts range from $50,000 to $250,000 and Sheriff Hall says the task force has done well despite its limited resources provided mostly by grants. And if you're selling drugs in Marion County, "They know who they are out there and believe me, if they keep dealing, they're going to be right over here with the rest of them."

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