State, local law enforcement agencies announce arrests, seizures in opioid overdose operation

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - State and local law enforcement agencies announced arrests and seizures in an operation focused on dealing with what they say is a serious opioid epidemic.

The Drug Enforcement  Administration says more than 50 arrests were made, without any issues.

Guns, drugs and more than $20,000 in cash was seized.

"Some nine months ago a coalition of law enforcement agencies in the Tri-County area came together and concentrated an effort on addressing this opioid overdose epidemic that is not only a problem elsewhere, but a serious problem here," said Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon.

This week, officers made their move, hit the streets and made the arrests.

Authorities say this is all about sending a message to anyone who deals heroin and other opioids.

"And at the same time, we need anybody who would use these drugs, if your dealer is gone today maybe it's time to have a hard talk with family and friends, get into detox," said Jason Sandoval with the DEA.

Cannon said some of the people arrested will be tied to overdose deaths and will face charges for those.

Bruce Durant with the solicitor's office says his office will be vigorously prosecuting those arrested in the operation.

"It is no overstatement or melodramatic to state this is a scourge, it's an epidemic," Cannon said."It cuts across all social, economic, racial barriers and it's affecting our young people all over."

"We arrested people whose drug distribution caused the death of people," Sandoval said."We arrested people for distributing drugs, if not taken off the streets might have also killed other people."

Authorities also seized various opioids including one called "Gray Death" that is ten thousand more times powerful than morphine.

"We've seen too many members of our community, loved ones pass away because they're caught up in that snare of belief you can use these drugs with no consequences," Sandoval said.

Officials say this successful operation is just the beginning.

"I want to tell all the people in our communities selling this poison, beware we may be knocking on your door next," said Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight.

Representatives from the following agencies were present at the presser:

Berkeley County Sheriff's Office
Charleston Police Department
Dorchester County Sheriff's Office
Federal Probation and Parole
Hanahan Police Department
Mount Pleasant Police Department
North Charleston Police Department
South Carolina Probation and Parole
Summerville Police Department
U.S. Attorney's Office
U.S. Marshals Service
9th Circuit Solicitor's Office

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