NEWBERRY COUNTY, SC A two-year investigation by state and local authorities in Newberry, Laurens and Fairfield Counties culminated in a major drug sweep that was launched Thursday morning.
More than 100 warrants were issued against 45 people in the tri-county area for crimes ranging from trafficking in heroin to trying to buy the ingredients used in manufacturing methamphetamine, Newberry Sheriff Lee Foster said. At the same time, an additional 20 people have been charged with trying to buy Sudafed in order to manufacture methamphetamine.
Most troubling, Foster said, was the increase in heroin trafficking noted during the investigation.
A crackdown against prescription drug abuse has sent many addicts searching for alternatives, such as heroin, Foster said. Heroin is cheaper - ranging in cost between $10-20 compared to $40-80 for the often-abused drug Oxycontin - but potentially much more dangerous. Quality of the illegal opiate must always be suspect and users often share needles leading to the spread of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, Foster said.
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The investigation by SLED and county anti-drug units was prompted by complaints from citizens, Foster said.
The arrests, which started Thursday morning were expected to continue through the weekend, Newberry Police Chief Jackie Swindler said.