Sumter Police and Deputies arrested 18 people in a county-wide heroin sting and are now searching for one more suspect.
"It has an impact on quality of life of our entire community," Sumter Police Chief Russell Roarke said.
More than 40,000 people call Sumter home, and Roarke says the bust is making the city better.
"After receiving the information, identifying several suspects, city officers began to make buys across the city," Roarke said.
With assistance from the Sheriff's Office and the DEA, Sumter Police made 14 arrests. Four other suspects turned themselves in between Friday and Monday morning.
But one suspect is still out there.
"All of the individuals have been arrested we had a misidentification on one by name and we're seeking him at this time," Roarke said.
Roarke said heroin is making a comeback on the streets of Sumter, and Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said the drugs aren't just affecting the user.
"We're noticing this uptick and we think it's partially because the difficulty for others to find illegal pills and are using heroin as a substitute drug for that. It's cheap, it's readily available," Roarke said.
"Addicts when they use the syringes they don't care about the use of it and a lot of diseases are transferred one to the other," Dennis said.
Although law enforcement officers made a sizable bust, there could be more to the story.
"I will say that this does not close the chapter nor does it close the book on us continuing to pursue those individuals involved in illegal activities," Roarke said, "We very well may in fact continue to work other cases that has come off of this case in the future."
Officers recovered 11 grams of crack cocaine, 27 grams of cocaine, 7 grams of heroin, 15 grams of marijuana and almost $10,000 in cash.
All of the suspects are of Sumter County and are being held in the Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center pending bond.
Arrested recently were:
Lyndon Obrian Allen, 31, of Lynam Road, Sumter, charged with two counts of Distribution of Heroin, Possession With Intent to Distribute Crack Cocaine, Trafficking in Cocaine, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of a Schedule III Controlled Substance, Possession With Intent to Distribute Heroin, Manufacturing of Crack Cocaine, Violation of S.C. Gun Law and Felon in Possession of a Weapon During a Violent Crime. Officers confiscated $3,877 during Allen's arrest.
Bernard Leon Witherspoon, 21, of Cane Savannah Road, Wedgefield is charged with Distribution of Heroin, Trafficking Heroin, and two counts of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin. U.S. currency in the amount of $6,020 and rounds of ammunition were found during Witherspoon's arrest.
Jennifer Teresa McCauley, 29, of Truefield Road, Sumter is charged with Distribution of Heroin and Violation of S.C. Gun Law.
Latonya Benjamin, 30, of Chanson Lane, Sumter is charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin, Possession of Cocaine, Possession with Intent to Distribute Crack Cocaine.
Frederick Benjamin, 34, of Chanson Lane, Sumter, is charged with two counts of Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin, Distribution of Heroin, Possession With Intent to Distribute Crack Cocaine and Possession of Cocaine.
Bennie Haynesworth, 33, of Curtiswood St., is charged with Possession With Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Possession of Marijuana-2nd offense.
Sherman Desmond Coleman, 32, is described as a 6 foot black male, weighing 135 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
Three others face charges related to bench warrants and other offenses unrelated to the drug investigation.
Arrested between October and November 2013 as part of the investigation were:
Quinton Hardy, 31, of High St., Sumter, two counts Distribution of Heroin.
Keishawn Brown, 34, of Huddersfield Drive, Sumter, two counts Trafficking Heroin and four counts Distribution of Heroin.
Maurice Lowery, 40, of Highland Ave., Sumter, two counts Distribution of Heroin, Possession of Heroin and Trafficking Heroin.
Julia Garrison, 28, of N. Guignard Drive, Apt. 2, Sumter, Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin.
Joseph Vipperman, 29, of Waterwheel Drive, Sumter, Possession of Heroin.
Authorities continue looking for four suspects who face various drug charges:
Jeffery Dewayne Sanders, 28, is described as a 6 foot 1 inch black male, weighing 220 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
Travies Auntwan Isaac Gray, 23, is described as a 5 feet 10 inch black male, weighing 150 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
Tony Bell, 30, is described as a 5 foot 9 inch black male, weighing 165 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
Stanley Jerome Pinckney, 24 (DOB: 6/30/89), is described as a 5 foot 7 inch black male, weighing 160 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.
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