LEMON SPRINGS, N.C. — Drugs, crack houses and prostitution are not problems usually associated with small, rural communities. Residents of one such community in Lee County say the country life has turned into the dangerous life and are demanding change.
Lemon Springs is the last place you might expect to find a major drug problem.
"We had a crack house that had a drive-through window. We've got crack houses on every corner, practically," resident Jimmy Fraley said. "Somebody has got to take a stand."
Fraley created a group called Citizens Against Drugs and collected 12,000 signatures from residents who want more sheriff's deputies on the roads and tougher sentences on drug dealers.
"The people know it's a problem, but we've got to get the county leaders to admit it," Fraley said.
After months of delays, Lee County commissioners held their first formal meeting with the group. The meeting produced a commitment to keep talking.
"What we need to do is find out what's the most effective way to affect the drug trade in this county," said Rep. John Sauls.
Sauls said the county should do its homework before lobbying for stricter laws.
"You need to know what you're talking about before you try to get 68 people in the House and 21 in the Senate and the governor to sign a bill," he said.
The meeting was the first in what will likely be a long series of meetings.
Next, county commissioners plan to meet with the Lee County sheriff, the Sanford police chief and the district attorney.