Local News

Local Police Departments Join Forces to Stop Drug Dealers

Posted January 14, 1999

— A group of law officers is joining forces to stomp out the illegal business of drug dealing.

Friday, several departments got together in Kenly to work on the drug problem there. None of those departments are otherwise related to each other.

They say together they can work and get some people off the street, but alone they cannot.

When catching alleged drug suspects, the element of surprise is crucial. It takes months of undercover police work to make some arrests.

But in a small town police department, there are not many officers the alleged dealers do not already know.

"Most of the people here know the officers, so they can't go up and buy any drugs from them, so they bring an unknown in, and they are ready to sell to them," said Kenly Police Chief Larry Carter.

Nine small towns throughout the eastern part of the state started sharing narcotics officers. A bust in Kenly is the first of its kind in our area.

The towns say they need the cooperation, because efforts in the big cities to run drugs out are pushing many suspects to smaller communities.

"They have moved out into the smaller towns outlying the large municipal areas so they can continue their trade and also expand their business profile," said Bethel Police Chief Rick Gainey.

The newly formed task force is the largest operation of its kind in the state. Undercover officers can sneak into town, make a few buys, and then return to departments that could be several counties away.

The cooperation means more resources and more manpower in the places that need it the most.

"Being a small department, we can't do it by ourselves. So, these guys came along and it surely helped out a lot," said Cartner.

The departments plan to apply for a state grant they hope will take effect in July.

They say that since July 4 of last year, they have made more than 250 drug buys and have arrested more than 50 people.

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