The brick house along the 800 block of Prescott Road in North Columbia blended in with the rest of the neighborhood during the day.
At night, because of its broken streetlight, the home is shrouded in darkness where neighbors barely can see what’s happening.
Neighbors have been complaining to the authorities for weeks about curious comings and goings that raised their suspicions. The 1,200-square-foot house, which sits just outside of the city’s limits, is off Fairfield Road.
Richland County Sheriff’s Department narcotics agents have been watching and were convinced that drugs were being sold from the house that sits across from John P. Thomas Elementary School. On Thursday night, they raided it, found drugs and cash in plain view and arrested four people.
It was part of the department’s program to pinpoint houses in the community that neighbors say also are used for prostitution, loitering and crimes, Capt. Michael Prichett said.
The program started Tuesday, when Sheriff Leon Lott sent his deputies to several businesses along North Main Street, asking store managers and business owners to call when they have issues with panhandlers and loiterers.
Deputies also handed out letters signed by Lott that asked businesses to not allow any illegal activity to take place on their property or face legal action. The officers returned Thursday to not only break up the drug sales taking place at the Prescott Road house, but to also arrest anyone committing any crime around the neighborhood.
“We’re here to stay,” Prichett said of the attention from deputies. “We’re here to keep the community happy and safe, and that’s what we plan on doing.”
Rosaland Thomas, 33, Nichelle Smith, 47, Marty Mackey, 45, and Gloria Stewart, 49, are charged with trafficking crack cocaine, possession with the intent to distribute marijuana and distribution within proximity of a school, authorities said.
None lived at that house, said sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Brittany Jackamonis. No one was hurt during Thursday’s operation
“We’re hoping that the word gets out and they realize that this illegal stuff that they’re doing will not happen here,” Prichett said. “We’re going to be on top of it and maybe they’ll go somewhere else or even cease it completely.”