Teamwork is valuable in every aspect of life, whether in an office setting or in the athletic arena. But it’s perhaps most important in law enforcement, where partnerships between different agencies often serve to make our communities safer, taking criminals and drugs off our streets.
A case in point would be this week’s arrest of a 26-year-old Sampson County man on a string of charges including trafficking in heroin. During that arrest, 164 individually wrapped packages of heroin were seized, along with cocaine.
Teamwork between the Sampson County Sheriff’s Department and the Warsaw Police Department was the catalyst for this arrest, which takes heroin that would likely have been sold in our communities off the streets. It also sends an important message to local drug dealers that law enforcement officers, working together, have every intention of getting the drugs off the street and putting those responsible for the manufacture and sell behind bars.
In Tuesday’s arrest, Warsaw officers, vigilantly watching what goes on at the I-40 rest area, communicated that activity to Sampson’s Criminal Interdiction Team, alerting them that the driver they had observed was now heading toward Sampson.
A stop and an arrest were made, with over 6 grams of heroin and 11.9 grams of cocaine seized. The tiny packages, we feel certain, were meant to be put into the hands of heroin addicts or street dealers who would eventually trade the packages for cash, most likely in Sampson and Duplin counties.
The cooperation between the two agencies stopped that in its tracks, something we are immensely thankful for. Residents of both counties should be too.
It takes that kind of teamwork to ensure that the flow of drugs into our communities is slowed.
And we concur with Warsaw Police Chief Eric Southerland and Sampson Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith, who acknowledged that it was the communication, teamwork and proactive efforts of the two agencies that enabled this incident to end as it should have: with drugs removed from circulation and a suspected trafficker out of commission.
Unfortunately Southerland and Smith are correct. There is a large amount of drug trafficking that happens along Interstate 40, some of it in Sampson, some in Duplin and some at the local rest area. In many cases the drugs are being transported to other areas, like Wilmington, yet realistically we all know that whether dropped off here or carried farther south, drugs like heroin and cocaine always find their way back, into the hands of addicts or, worse still, into the hands of new users who soon will become addicts.
Given that the suspect in this case was actually from Sampson County, chances are strong that the drugs seized in this arrest likely were going to be on our streets, making an already bad drug problem that much worse.
That two local law enforcement agencies were willing to share information and then work together to proactively remove drugs from our communities proves what can happen when individuals set aside ego and a desire for credit.
“It takes this effort and the willingness to get the bad guy off the street, no matter which jurisdiction the suspect is caught in,” Southerland was quoted as saying.
He is right. We are fortunate in Sampson and Duplin counties that our law enforcement officers see things that way and act accordingly.