Sometimes you want more information, but other times information painted in broad strokes is enough to clearly define a situation.
Such is the case with the over three dozen individuals who have been taken into custody by Sampson County law enforcement officers over the past two weeks — a roster we expect to grow as more individuals are located and charges are leveled.
While the list of arrests has grown longer with each passing day, information about the year-long undercover operation has been vague at best. Yet the arrests themselves and the laundry list of charges that follows each person’s name paints a clear and positive picture: drugs are being taken off the streets and those responsible for plying those drugs are being yanked off along with them, at least for a while.
For some, that may not be enough information. For us, it’s enough for now, understanding the precarious situation law enforcement officers face when going undercover for these drug stings and because of how tenuous court cases are when too many details are leaked.
In truth, there is a need for the limited release of information sometimes. Sheriff’s officials are always forthcoming with details they can provide, information that they, and we, believe is important for the public to know yet not harmful to the cases that are being built against suspects involved in criminal activity.
Without question we believe in the public’s right to know and uphold it every single day, but there is a difference between what one needs to know and what one just wants to know.
In the case of the most recent drug operation, the most important facts to know are the ones currently being released: that arrests are being made; who is being arrested; and what those arrested are charged with. The how it came about is an important detail but one we can wait to find out when doing so won’t hinder the investigation or any future arrests that need to be made.
And that’s the reason our stories are vague, with little detail of how or why the operation came about.
What’s important to know now is that 33 people are facing a multitude of charges involving everything from prescription meds and cocaine to methamphetamines; that these individuals, at least for a time, won’t be out trying to sell their illegal substances to our friends, neighbors and children; and that law enforcement officers never cease beating the bushes for suspected drug dealers and never stop trying to make a significant dent in an illegal trade that is luring far too many people.
We applaud Sheriff Jimmy Thornton, his drug agents and the entire department for their diligence in battling what has to seem like an unending battle against drug abuse in our county.
It’s clear there’s a revolving door when it comes to drug dealers and even users, with one set being locked up just as another set finds their way back to the street and back to a trade that is hard to wipe out completely. But Thornton and his team go above and beyond the call of duty to tamp it down as evidenced by these most recent arrests.
While all the facts haven’t been laid out about his drug investigation yet, what we know is this: law enforcement officers are out there watching and waiting to take drugs off the street and they do so every chance they get. We can hardly ask for more than that.