Large scale heroin busts often a result of police, community working together

Updated: Jul. 17, 2019 at 12:47 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - It isn’t only steadfast police work that leads to major drug busts. Community members often play a vital role as well.

In the last two months, the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office seized 8,400 bags of heroin and Lt. Jerry Brewer said these types of investigations sometimes begin with something as simple as a tip or a complaint from a neighbor.

"The community's role in it is pivotal. It's a huge part," Brewer said Wednesday. "They're the ones who give us information on where to start from. Once we get into that and start investigating and seeing how we can attack that drug network, it starts to unfold and that's when you start seeing 1,000 heroin bags, 7,000 heroin bags. All that stems from community relations and input from the community."

A month-long investigation led to the arrest of three people and the seizure of 5,700 bags of heroin in Wilmington. Other busts in which 1,200 and 1,500 bags of the narcotic were seized came around the same time.

As widespread as drug use is in Wilmington and beyond, Brewer said breaking up big drug networks is a full-time job and these large scale busts have an effect.

"We have to attack it every day," Brewer said. "It's always gonna be there. This drug network is there but we can definitely make a difference, and we are."

According to Brewer, getting drugs off the streets is a multifaceted task that involves more than just arrests and drug seizures. He said mental health care and rehabilitation for addicts make a difference.

“If we can get someone who is addicted help, then that’s one less person on the street trying to buy those drugs,” Brewer said.

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