Local News

Sheriff: Wake becoming distribution hub for drug lords

Posted January 1, 2016 4:48 p.m. EST
Updated January 1, 2016 6:46 p.m. EST

— Sheriff Donnie Harrison says Wake County is becoming a distribution center for cocaine and heroin, and he needs more manpower to battle drug traffickers.

Harrison has asked the Wake County Board of Commissioners for $103,600 in the 2015-16 budget to hire three more officers for the Special Operations Division of the Wake County Sheriff's Office. The board is expected to discuss the request on Monday.

The 11-member Special Operations Division handles narcotics investigations, but the sheriff said working more than one case at a time, including obtaining search warrants and handling undercover drug buys, stretches them too thin.

"There's a lot of dope coming through here we're missing, and we know it," Harrison said.

Investigators have seen an increase in cocaine and heroin – both in the overall amount and in the quality of the drugs – in recent years, he said.

"We're seeing some of the drugs, especially the cocaine we're getting, hasn't been cut as much. So, that shows its coming here first or second maybe," the sheriff said, adding that it is then cut up and sold here or shipped to other parts of the country.

"Usually, when you see the pure form of the drugs, this is becoming a hub," he said.

Wake County is attractive to large-scale drug traffickers because of the Triangle's population base, easy connections to Interstates 40, 85 and 95 and the network of flights in and out of Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Harrison said.

The sheriff cited 46 kilograms of cocaine found last month in a tractor-trailer and noted that the Special Operations Division has seized more than $177 million in narcotics and made more than 1,100 arrests in the past three-and-a-half years.

"We just want to get that drug dealer off the street so our kids won’t be taking drugs or have the opportunity to get those drugs," he said. "If we can take anything off the street, we’ve accomplished a lot."