Sampson’s Sheriff Thornton


Sheriff Jimmy Thornton calls it poison, and he is adamant that he and his officers will not rest until the tidal wave of meth that keeps rolling into Sampson County is not just ebbed but forced to dry up entirely.

It may be a battle until the end, but our money is on Thornton and the Sampson Sheriff’s Department, who work hard as a unit and as part of a coalition of law enforcement officers to take meth off the streets and to put those responsible for bringing it into Sampson behind bars where, quite frankly, they need to be.

Late last week we saw evidence of how Thornton’s tenacity and those partnerships became a combustible force that was the catalyst for the county’s largest single meth seizure ever — some 3 pounds. An ongoing investigation involving Sampson Special Investigation Division agents and Fayetteville Police culminated last Thursday in a warrant at 4635 U.S. 421 North where the meth, with a street value of over $200,000, was discovered and three people, including a teenager, were arrested.

Methamphetamine use seems to rise and fall like a fast-moving roller coaster here in Sampson County. Some years we are inundated with the drug, with officers constantly reporting the dismantling of labs and the arrest of suspects. Other years, there seems to be little evidence of the illegal substance in our midst.

We feel secure in knowing that no matter the climate for meth, Thornton and his officers are out there watching and waiting, following up leads citizens willingly offer, stopping suspicious vehicles traveling the interstate or rural roadways and acting in partnership with other agencies.

The efforts pay off. Last year’s Double Tap is one good example, though it was more than meth that drug agents confiscated during the weeks and months of round-up that followed the lengthy campaign. Last Thursday’s seizure of three pounds of meth is another.

Thornton is right; meth is poison, and those who sell it distributors of a highly addictive drug that can turn the lives of individuals and their families upside down. Like other drugs, meth is responsible for many other crimes that crop up in our county, including but not limited to break-ins and armed robberies.

Keeping a lid on its use is imperative, something Thornton clearly understands and is committed to doing.

The task is not an easy one. As is always the case, demand will equal supply. But having tenacious law enforcement means arrests and seizures, like last week’s, will be forthcoming.

Will it keep more meth from flowing into Sampson? That’s unlikely, but as Thornton pointed out in Sunday’s interview about the meth bust, “This is less drugs that will fall in the hands of our youth.”

What’s more, busts like Thursday’s are a constant reminder to dealers and users that agents have no intention of letting up and that eventually they will be caught in law enforcement’s snare.

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