SWAT officers conduct drug raids in Lincoln Co.

by: Sarah Rosario Updated:


LINCOLN COUNTY, N.C. - Armed officers in SWAT gear are performing drug raids for the second day in a row Wednesday morning in Lincoln County.

Eyewitness News was the only station with the deputies as they kicked off Operation Route 66, which refers to number of suspected drug dealers they are targeting.

Officers said they used tips from people in the community to target the suspected dealers.  They said their search for the suspected dealers will continue until they are all caught.

"The message to the dealers that are still there, 'If we don't get you today, we probably have you on the radar for sometime down the road,'" said Lincoln County Sherrif David Carpenter.

Four people were arrested during the raid Tuesday.

Johnny Bivens was one those people arrested. He's accused of selling prescription pills to more than 20 people since July. Officers said calls from neighbors to their tip line helped launch the investigation that led to his arrest.

On Tuesday, in what Bivens thought was supposed to be a drug deal, 70 pills in exchange for $575, turned into a drug bust, police said.

Thirty-five officers in SWAT gear jumped out of the unmarked van and swarmed his house on Beaumont Lane. The deputies had their guns drawn and were yelling at people outside the house to get on the ground.

Neighbors were surprised to see the officers, but they told Eyewitness News they weren't surprised who was being arrested. Deputies said their complaints about traffic in the neighborhood led them to Bivens.

"I've been trying to tell them for a long time. They need to just move and quit doing everything," said Chelsie Caudill.

Officers searched the house and the cars in the driveway. They said they seized 107 prescription pills. Three other people were arrested on charges of possession of marijuana and pills. Deputies said they've been tracking Bivens' moves for the past three months.

They said many of the sales he's been making have been to undercover officers.

"It looks like it's coming from a family member that's actually receiving the prescription drugs and then allowing another family member to sell them," said Sheriff David Carpenter.

The sheriff said that family member is Bivens' dad. He, too, could face charges by the end of the week, Carpenter said.

Deputies said if Bivens is convicted, he's looking at a mandatory sentence of at least three years but could face 30 years. His first court appearance is set for next month.