Charleston County, South Carolina, ranked as the deadliest in the state for overdoses of heroin and other opioids, with more than 140 deaths, in 2017. Authorities regard the fatal overdose rate as a “massive crisis.” So when tips came in to law enforcement from locals seven months ago regarding narcotics-related issues, including suspected drug houses in the community, they prompted the formation of a large investigation into drug suppliers that spanned three counties and involved authorities at the federal level as well as local levels. As of Tuesday, law enforcement has arrested and charged 45 people as a result of the investigation. Three of those cases are reportedly tied to Charleston County overdose fatalities.
Though concentrated in the counties of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester, the probe reached far beyond their borders to implicate Mexican drug cartels and at least one individual in Texas. It is unclear whether this individual was one of the 45 charged in connection with the investigation. Authorities claim that the investigation did not target street-level dealers or addicts; rather, they reportedly focused their efforts on major drug distributors.
Charges relate to the distribution of fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin and other narcotics. The investigation also resulted in the seizure of cash and firearms. Agencies involved in the probe include the Department of Homeland Security, the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, as well as local police departments in the communities of Charleston, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, Mount Pleasant and Summerville.
While it is not specifically known what penalties the 45 charged may face, conviction on drug charges can carry serious penalties, making it potentially advisable to hire a defense attorney.