07/20/14 — More charges in drug sweep

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More charges in drug sweep

By John Joyce
Published in News on July 20, 2014 1:50 AM

The countywide drug sweep that began with 13 arrests July 9 is continuing, Goldsboro Police Department drug squad supervisor Capt. Seth Harris said.

Eight suspects have yet to be caught.

Montrell Allen, 39, Guillermo Rivas, 17, and Angela Bruce, 31, have since been charged with possessing, selling and/or conspiring to sell drugs, bringing the total number of people arrested to 16.

Harris said the success of the operation is measurable.

"We got two-thirds of those wanted in a week, so I'd say that it has been successful," he said.

Local law enforcement agencies combine forces once or twice a year to conduct such roundups.

This year, the Wayne, Duplin, Person and Lenoir County Sheriff's Offices, along with the Goldsboro, Mount Olive, Greenville, Wilson, Rocky Mount and Raleigh Police Departments, as well as the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement, State Bureau of Investigation and the DEA joined in the effort to take down alleged drug dealers.

Last year, the N.C. Department of Probation and Parole also participated in the investigation.

The county needs these sorts of investigations, Harris said.

"A lot of these cases involve recording undercover purchases, which, if you made the arrest immediately, you couldn't use the undercover (officer) again," Harris said.

Although many of the suspects post bond within a very short period and return to the streets, the benefit of the arrests come later.

"Later, when the case gets adjudicated and the suspect gets sentenced, they are not on the streets selling drugs anymore," he said.

Still, many of the suspects who are charged with lesser crimes might only receive probation or short-term jail sentences if convicted.

Recidivism is frustrating, Harris said.

He did say that the arrests and convictions sometimes lead to a suspect being classified as an habitual felon, which can carry a significantly longer sentencing requirement.

Harris also said anyone convicted of drug trafficking is subject to mandatory sentencing. State law says defendants have to receive a certain amount of jail time, and that it is not left to a judge's discretion.

"The trafficking levels come in levels I, II and III, Level III being the highest and carrying the most time," he said.