People in Lincolnton awaken to detectives arresting drug suspects



LINCOLNTON, N.C. - Dozens of people awoke Tuesday to the sound of detectives knocking on their doors.

Channel 9 was there as Lincolnton deputies rounded up drug suspects; they even found one with drugs on a high-school campus.

Police said they have arrested a handful of their 59 suspects so far as part of a bust that they call Operation Early Christmas.

Jesse Crump didn't answer questions as police arrested him at the school on Wednesday.

Officers first went to his home and knocked on his door. Crump was not home, but police said they discovered a large marijuana plant.

Police seized the plant and found out that Crump had gone to Lincolnton High School to take lunch to a friend who worked there.

When police found Crump on campus, they said he had prescription pills.

"When we arrested him he had 32 Klonopin pills on him, not in a pill bottle like a normal person would," said Lt. Brian Greene of the Lincolnton Police Department.

Police said the pills were wrapped for sale, but they do not believe that he was selling on campus.

Officers arrested several people at their homes before dawn.

"They knocked on the door, I came out the back and they got me," said suspect Sammy Foster.

"These arrests are a message to them that we will not tolerate their behavior," said Greene.

Police said drug trafficking is usually followed by people willing to do anything to get drugs.

"Breaking and entering, we see that a lot and we see them turning to shoplifting," said Greene.

Police said over the past year that they have collected evidence against suspects who sold drugs to undercover officers.

Officers hope they are making a dent in an issue that only seems to be getting worse.

"It's just a problem that continues to grow and we continue to make the arrests and now it doesn't seem like it is improving too much," said Greene.

Police filed more than 200 felony charges on Wednesday on the suspects for selling everything from marijuana to bath salts sold in convenience stores.

This is the second roundup in the city this year, and the third in the county.