Thirty people have now been taken into custody as part of Operation Candy Crush, a months-long investigation — precipitated by citizen complaints and tips — designed to take both drug users and sellers off the market.
Although there are still a handful of warrants left to be served, Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton called the operation a huge success and he tipped his hat to residents for their cooperation and officers for their tireless efforts to round up those caught in the Candy Crush web.
“We’ve got a ways to go yet, but I would certainly say this has been a successful campaign,” Thornton said Thursday afternoon as reports came in that three more individuals had been arrested.
Arrests 28, 29 and 30 came late Wednesday when Criminal Interdiction Team agents took Johnny Lee Williams, 29, 182 Williams Lane, Roseboro; Sue Ellen Godbold, 31, 601 Polly St., Clinton; and Robert Edwards Lucas II, 37, 301 N Grady Tew Lane, Clinton into custody.
Lucas was charged with four felony counts of sell/deliver a Schedule II controlled substance, namely opium. Seized was 17 dosage units of the drug. He was jailed under a $40,000 secured bond and is slated to appear in Sampson District Court Oct. 25.
Godbold was jailed under a $55,000 bond, charged with three felony counts of trafficking in opium, along with a misdemeanor count of driving while license revoked. A total 30 dosage units of opium was seized from her, reports show. She is scheduled to make her first court appearance on Oct. 25 as well.
And Williams was charged with one count selling methamphetamine, one count delivering meth and one count possession of meth, all felonies. His bond was set at $30,000 and he, too, must make his first appearance in District Court on Oct. 25. One gram of meth was seized, reports show.
The three join a host of other Sampson residents already caught up in the Crush probe and arrested on a laundry list of drug offenses running the gamut, from trafficking in opiates and selling meth to sell and delivery of cocaine and marijuana.
Thornton said the list of drug offenses alone are a clear example of the problems that exist in the county.
“Our problems with drugs are very real. We aren’t alone in having these problems, every county has them, but we can’t ours exists.”
Thornton pointed to the man hours put in to make Operation Candy Crush the success he said it had been.
“No one really knows what it takes to run a campaign like this, the time that gets invested,” the sheriff asserted.
From the undercover buys to the processing of warrants to the actual search for those charged, officers, Thornton said, work tirelessly, determined to get the job done.
“Officers are constantly looking for these individuals, and it’s not necessarily the road deputies and detectives. This is mainly our Criminal Interdiction Team.”
Thornton praised the efforts that had gone into the campaign and assured that those left out there would be found and arrested.
“We’re far from done with this. I’m tickled to death with what we’ve done so far, but it’s still an ongoing effort,” the sheriff said.