on July 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Almost all suspects in sweep in custody

SENECA — Somewhere in Seneca or beyond there are six suspected drug dealers with warrants out for their arrests who managed to avoid capture during the recent citywide drug sweep. While they’re free now, Major John Covington of the Seneca Police Department said it was only a matter of time until they meet the same fate as their fellow alleged narcotic peddlers.

“We don’t know where they are at this point,” Covington said. “It is possible that they’ve heard they had warrants and gotten out of the area, or even had friends and relatives take care of them and put off the inevitable even longer.”

Beginning on Friday, a task force constituted of Seneca Police narcotics officers, U.S. Marshals, as well as personnel from Oconee County Sheriff’s office, Pickens, Anderson and Greenville city police, sought 39 suspected drug dealers on more than 100 warrants. As of Monday, 33 of the 39 had been arrested, some even turning themselves in.

“Officers were still seeking the remaining subjects throughout the weekend,” Covington said. “A couple of arrests were made this weekend, and some turned themselves in.”

Reasons for suspects turning themselves in probably vary, Covington said.

“They know they’re caught, they hear there’s a warrant out on them, and they think they might get some leniency for turning themselves in,” Covington said. “They might want their day in court and hope to be process released, where if they’re caught late in the evening, they’ll probably spend the night before seeing a judge. Some just don’t want to be embarrassed in front of their families or neighbors or at their jobs. There are a lot of reasons for turning themselves in, and most of them are self-serving.”

There was one vehicle seizure during the sweep, as a pick-up truck in which a sale was made was confiscated. All arrests went without incident.

“I cannot offer enough praise for our narcotics officers,” Covington said. “For them to make so many cases during a four-month investigation, I’m really proud of them.”

The four-month investigation period was spurred by a need for anonymity, Covington said.

“Usually this is an ongoing process,” he said. “If we use an undercover operative and someone makes a sale to him, we need to sit on those warrants, because those dealers will sell to a lot more people in those few months. If we make an arrest for a deal a guy made in February, he won’t have any idea which one he’s talking about. If we take him a week or so after the deal, he may be able to figure out who the undercover was. So it is to protect the anonymity of our undercover operatives. All the arrests went without incident, and we were very pleased with results.”