by: Paige Hansen Updated:
LINCOLNTON, N.C. - Nineteen suspected drug dealers were arrested Wednesday after an early morning roundup by the Lincolnton Police Department.
Eyewitness News was the only station to be there as arrests were made.
The arrests follow a six-month long investigation involving informants and undercover officers, according to Lt. Brian Green with the Lincolnton Police Department.
Joshua Jones, who is suspected of trafficking opium or heroin, didn't go easily. He yelled at officers that he has "not sold any freaking pills" as officers handcuffed him and put Jones in the back of a police car.
In the past year, the Lincolnton Police Department said it has focused on doing smaller round ups, and doing them more often. Green said doing so lessens the strain on the court system.
Green said it takes time to build a solid case. Officers try to get three buys from a suspect before making an arrest.
"That way they can’t say, 'Hey, I made a mistake,'" Green explained. "We show a pattern that they are continuously doing this."
Nine teams of two officers each spread out to make the arrests Wednesday, then brought the suspects to the Magistrate's Office.
Thirty-one people were on the round-up list Wednesday and the department expects only a few stragglers to remain by the week's end.
Heroin remains big, and police say marijuana is coming back, but prescription pills are what is most popular right now.
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