FLORENCE COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Beginning Monday, authorities in the Pee Dee conducted the twelfth "Operation Strike Force," a focused enforcement effort on the interstates in Florence and Darlington counties that resulted in four arrests, the apprehension of seven fugitives, the recovery of two stolen vehicles, and the seizure of marijuana, meth, cocaine, and over $250,000 in drug or contraband-related currency.
Operation Strike Force began at 7 a.m. Monday with "24/7 focused enforcement on the Interstate highways in Florence and Darlington Counties by some of the best Criminal Enforcement Officers from around the state," according to a news release from the Florence County Sheriff's Office. About 150 officers from 23 state, local and federal agencies participated in the operation, which ended at midnight Friday.
Over the course of the week, the operation issued over 1,505 citations or warnings, searched 231 vehicles, and made 63 criminal cases, including four felony arrests, the release states. Four illegal weapons were seized. The operation netted 8.6 pounds of high-grade marijuana with an estimated street value of $8,600. In addition, 14 grams of methamphetamine and five grams of cocaine with a street value of $1,000 were seized.
Seven fugitives were apprehended, two stolen vehicles were recovered, and $253,659 in drug or contraband-related currency was seized, the release continues.
"The untaxed cigarettes proceeds can be used to fund terrorism around the world. With all the currency found it is the fruit of the drug trafficking this is the end product of the cartel." Nunn added the people trafficking drugs are not typically willing to work well with officers," said FCSO Maj. Mike Nunn.
Nunn hit on how Florence and Darlington counties are known for their interdiction efforts.
"We can't get it all and we miss stuff, but as you can see there is quite a lot of contraband moving up and down the interstates and this is just a small fraction of what's there," Nunn said. "We believe we have the best of the best and our officers have to be properly trained to do this job."
"These dedicated officers have a passion for removing drugs and contraband from the street," Sheriff Kenney Boone stated. "Operations like this allow them to network, build relationships and share best practices. We owe them all a debt of gratitude for their hard work and dedication.
The agencies involved in this year's Operation Strike Force include: The Florence County Sheriff's Office, the Darlington County Sheriff's Office, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office, the Chester County Sheriff's Office, the Sumter County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Florence Police Department, the Greenville County Sheriff's Office, the Hampton County Sheriff's Office, the Kershaw County Sheriff's Office, the Lee County Sheriff's Office, the Marion County Sheriff's Office, the Lake City Police Department, the Oconee County Sheriff's Office, South Carolina Highway Patrol, the State Law Enforcement Division Aviation and Fusion Center, SC State Transport Police, the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office, the United State Marshals Service, and the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.
"Successful operations like this takes months of planning and coordination and would not be possible without the support of our dedicated officers and staff, loyal business, churches and individual sponsors, as well as the agency heads from around the State who allow their officers to participate," Sheriff Boone stated. "We appreciate their participation in this important operation."