Chatham County

12 arrested in Chatham County-wide drug bust, 262 felony charges filed

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office took part in a massive anti-drug sweep this week.
The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office took part in a massive anti-drug sweep this week. Chatham County Sheriff's Office

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 12 suspects in a large-scale, anti-drug operation that took place Thursday in Chatham County.

“Operation Safe Communities” was a collaborative effort of the Chatham Sheriff’s Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Pittsboro and Siler City police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and involved more than 60 officers and agents.

The Chatham Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) said the sweep encompassed several hours on Thursday morning and netted a dozen of 25 suspects the task force had been seeking. Some 262 felony charges were filed against the captured suspects.

No one was hurt.

The CCSO said the raids marked the culmination of 10 months of work by the CCSO Narcotics Unit. Tips from the public were said to have played a vital role in the success of the operation.

CCSO Sheriff Mike Roberson said, “Today’s operation was an important part of a working solution to the drug dilemma that is impacting our communities, but it was just one part. Treatment for the people who have been affected and the prevention of a new demand for illegal drugs, particularly with our children, are just as important. They all require involvement from the entire community to be successful.”

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office is still looking for the following individuals: Kerry Wright Jr., Stanley Watson Jr., Shontay Cotton and Terrance Farrar. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of those individuals is urged to call 919-542-2911.

On Friday, the CCSO detailed the amount of drugs captured by the task force, including:

▪  Cocaine 294.8 grams

▪  Crack cocaine 53.4 grams

▪  Marijuana 101.5 grams

▪  Heroin 73.7grams

▪  Opioid pills 112

▪  LSD 13 dosage units

▪  Methamphetamine 17.5 grams

Other raids also netted roughly $9,000 in cash, 14.8 grams of crack cocaine and a firearm.

The following individuals were arrested and charged with a combined 262 felony charges and 63 misdemeanor charges:

▪  Stanly Watson Jr.

▪  Maurice Swindell

▪  Timothy Grinnell

▪  Gabrielle Dowdy

▪  James Watson

▪  Frederick Williams

▪  Kevin Squires

▪  LaChadrick Lane

▪  Kelvin Penny

▪  Charles Washington

▪  Martha Wilkins

▪  Kerry Wright Sr.

▪  Alexix Sibrian

▪  Joretta Alston

Sheriff’s Office details drug-war components

In addition to the efforts of law enforcement in stemming the availability of opiods and other narcotics including heroin, Sheriff Mike Roberson, along with other deputies, has partnered with the Chatham County Public Health Department and Chatham Drug Free to address additional components of the problem.

The group is developing strategies to complement law enforcement efforts in the areas of awareness, prevention, intervention and treatment. While still in the beginning stages, some steps have already been taken.

Prior to the efforts of the group, the Chatham County Public Health Department had partnered with the Sheriff’s Office in training and distributing Naloxone to deputies for use in suspected overdose events. Naloxone is a medication that can be administered inter-nasally to reverse the effects of an opiod/heroin overdose and buy time for the person to either get to or be transported to the hospital for further treatment.

In addition, a group of students from the UNC School of Social Work have developed an informational brochure entitled, “Protecting Your Teen from Opioid Misuse.” Copies will soon be available through the schools and other youth serving agencies.

The initial task of the group was to gather information and data about the growing opiod and heroin problem in Chatham County. Through examining the data from the 2016 Chatham County Alcohol and Other Drug Survey, Chatham County Public Health Department’s Community Health Assessment, overdose data from medical facilities and anecdotal information from the deputies on the street, a picture of a growing problem was discovered.

The group will continue meeting and develop a strategic plan to increase awareness of the problem, develop prevention strategies and identify the intervention and treatment resources necessary for a comprehensive approach to addressing the problem. More partners will be brought to the table as the plan develops.

Treatment, prevention resources

Chatham County has resources in place devoted to the treatment and prevention of drug use.

Chatham Drug Free is one such resource. Chatham Drug Free is a county-wide coalition devoted to the prevention of drug alcohol, tobacco and drug use among youth.

Parents with concerns about their children can take advantage of a toll-free help line 1-855-DRUGFREE.