Columbus Co. deputies crack down on prescription drug use - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Operation Frost Bite: Deputies crack down on illegal prescription drug use

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COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Columbus County ranks third in the state for the distribution of prescription pills, according to the sheriff's office. In an effort to cut down on the illegal drug use, deputies conducted Operation Frost Bite early Tuesday morning.

They have been investigating people who sell prescription drugs for the past six months.  During their investigation, they noticed several other drugs were also being sold, including cocaine, marijuana and methamphetamine. 

"It is a problem here in Columbus County," explained Major Lewis Hatcher.  "It's beginning to be an increasing problem. The sheriff saw fit to meet it head on."

Starting at 5:00 a.m. deputies hit the street with a mission to arrest 42 people accused of more than 200 drug-related charges. 

By 2:00 p.m. they were able to arrest 29 people on their list, including a home health nurse, a pharmacy technician and a man who used to be head of security at the hospital.

"It really expands all different areas," said Columbus County Assistant District Attorney Heath Nance.  "You see folks from different areas they face those type of charges. It's a problem that isn't isolated to one group."

Those arrested were taken to the sheriff's office to meet with a magistrate and get a set bond before being taken to jail where they could call family members and bond out.

"This operation was very successful. But more arrests are likely to come," said Hatcher.

Investigators said most of the people arrested Tuesday will face more charges once all the paperwork is complete.

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