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Drug Sweep Nabs 40 in Sumter County

The list of arrestees and charges is so long it needs a table at the WCBD website. After three months of investigation, police arrested 40 people and confiscated a laundry-list of illegal items. The controlled substances included everything on the menu: crack cocaine, marijuana, powdered cocaine and, adding a Southern flavor to the story, illegally manufactured moonshine.

Associated items were also seized, including nine guns (some stolen), drug paraphernalia, and several cases of beer and wine. The criminal involved weren’t top tier dealers, judging by the dollar figures quoted – less than $50,000 in drugs total.

The nine day operation in Sumter County may not yet be over, according to reports. Typically, the first round of arrests leads to others when defendants offer information in an attempt to avoid prosecution. But judging by the stats so far, this represents a real effort by police to clean up the streets. We often hear about arrests of small-time drug offenders, but in this case, it appears a whole drug-using community was taken in.

The troubling part for ordinary, law-abiding citizens of Sumter County is the number of criminals in our midst, just doing their thing until police get around to arresting them. Granted, all 40 of those arrested are necessarily guilty of felony crimes, but that’s enough folks simply hanging around drug houses to raise some real questions about what life is like in the county. Would anyone want this to appear in an ad for our community? Hardly.

Not listed in the report was how many of those arrested were repeat offenders. It’s a sad truth that many of these folks will plead guilty, pay a fine or spend a short stint in jail, and then go right back on the streets and pick up where they left off. We can only hope that some few see the light and make this there last arrest, especially if they have been driven to this by addiction. At least addiction is treatable – a criminal lifestyle may not be.

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