One week after the first arrests were made in Operation Double Tab, one of two simultaneous raids conducted by city and county law enforcement officers, Sampson residents continue to be taken into custody and charges leveled.
It is, Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said late last week, one of the most successful and widespread drug operations that has been conducted in Sampson in recent years, targeting, among others, what drug enforcement officers have called higher-level dealers involved in everything from trafficking in cocaine and heroin to possessing, selling and delivering controlled substances within 1,000 feet of a school or park.
After a full seven days of being on the hunt for those targeted after two months-long undercover campaigns throughout the city and county, the number of bulk arrests are waning, but the effort remains just as intense.
Thornton said as word spread about the campaign, many became nervous, with some exiting the county before officers could catch up to them. But, the sheriff stressed, he felt sure they’d soon be back and officers would be ready and waiting to pick them up and level the dozens of charges they’ll have to answer to.
In the city, 30 people have been targeted as part of the Police Department’s four-month undercover operation. As of Friday, Police Chief Jay Tilley said half had been taken into custody. While he expects the remainder of the suspects to be charged over the next few days, Tilley noted that there probably wouldn’t be a large number arrested at one time, as was the case during the initial opening of the campaigns. Those 30 people face a combined 114 drug charges.
For Sampson County, the task is a bit more difficult, with over 100 individuals targeted through Double Tap, and not quite half of those now in custody. Like Tilley, Thornton assured that each and every one of those suspects would be found and charged. He did acknowledge, however, that from here on out the arrests would likely trickle in as opposed to the bulk arrests of a week ago.
“As word spreads, these people become a little more difficult to find,” Thornton said Friday. “But we’ll find them, you can be assured of that.”
Both men continued to applaud the efforts of their officers, particularly those with the county’s Special Investigation Division and the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Teams, and local citizens willing to report suspicious drug activity going on in their communities.
“We are appreciative of every call,” Thornton said.
“They (the calls) make a difference,” Tilley has said.
The latest individuals whose names were released Monday by county officials were picked up over the weekend as part of Double Tap. They are:
• Jerome Williams, 20, 35 Garden Spot Lane, Autryville, 3 counts possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver cocaine; 2 counts sell cocaine, 2 counts deliver cocaine, 3 counts trafficking cocaine, 1 count maintaining a dwelling for the sell of a controlled substance. A total 33.20 grams of cocaine was seized at the time of the arrest. Bond $150,000; court date Aug. 29.
• Percy Sherman Chestnutt Jr., 41, 5081 Honeycutt Road, Clinton, 2 counts sell marijuana, 2 counts deliver marijuana, 2 counts possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana, 1 count maintaining a dwelling for the sell of a controlled substance. Seized at the time of the arrest was 17.60 grams of marijuana. Bond $25,000; court date Aug. 29.
• Marquette Antonio Sampson, 36, 60 Casa Lane, Clinton, 2 counts sell marijuana, 2 counts deliver marijuana, 2 counts possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana, 2 counts maintaining a dwelling/vehicle for the sell of a controlled substance. Seized at the time of the arrest was 8.2 grams of marijuana. Bond $60,000; court date Aug. 29.
• Darrius Jemal Robinson, 24, 1404 Faison Hwy., Clinton, 4 counts possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana, 4 counts sell marijuana, 4 counts deliver marijuana, 2 counts maintaining a vehicle for sell of a controlled substance; 1 count manufacture, sell, deliver, possess a controlled substance within 1,0000 feet of a school, 1 count manufacture, sell, deliver, possess a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a child care facility. Seized at the time of arrest was 13.5 grams marijuana. Bond $185,000; court date Aug. 29.
(Editor Sherry Matthews can be reached at 910-249-4612. Follow her on Twitter @sieditor1960; follow the paper @SampsonInd.)