61 charged in Lancaster County drug sweep

adys@heraldonline.comJanuary 24, 2014 

— Police in Lancaster County confiscated pounds of drugs, 13 guns and more than $10,000 in cash Thursday in a drug sweep that resulted in 117 drug charges for 61 people – including a convicted drug dealer who was out on bond in a murder case.

Among the people arrested in “Operation Stamp Out” were a 74-year-old man already in prison on drug and weapons charges, who was charged with distribution of crack cocaine, and defendants in their early 20s accused of making and possessing methamphetamine.

Click here to see the names and mugshots of those arrested.

The charges filed against people from all across Lancaster County ranged from trafficking in large amounts of narcotics to possession and sale of prescription narcotics and other drugs. The investigation focused on suppliers in the drug trade. Most of those charged have already been arrested, although deputies are still seeking a few on pending arrest warrants, Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said.

“Drug dealing and drug dealers will not be tolerated in Lancaster County,” Faile said in announcing the charges Friday.

City and county investigators have dealt with widespread increases in drug crimes in recent years, as well as record numbers of killings that many times were likely tied to the drug trade.

Melvin Sowell, 25, who is serving a five-year sentence in prison after pleading guilty to distribution of cocaine in November, was out on $50,000 bond on a 2012 murder charge when police say he was distributing marijuana and cocaine during the drug investigation that culminated this week, court records show.

“Many of these offenders are linked to violent crimes,” Faile said. “We are committed to getting them off the street.”

Arrests included several other defendants already charged with or convicted of previous drug and weapons crimes. Daniel Ali Thompson, 27, who faces 13 charges from the sweep including trafficking cocaine and crack, was out on $100,000 bond from several May drug charges that still have not been brought to trial, court records show.

Cherish Faile, 36, of Lancaster, was out on $10,000 bond on drug charges that were pending when she was arrested in the sweep and charged with seven felonies. J.C. Hall, 74, of Van Wyck, is serving a six-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in 2013 to cocaine dealing and weapons charges, court records show.

During this week’s arrests, police seized 32 grams of crack cocaine, 629 grams of cocaine, 343 doses of prescription narcotics, and more than $10,000 in cash. Bond hearings will be held for all the defendants, but it is unclear when the cases will come to court. Some arrests were made earlier in the investigation, said Sheriff’s Maj. Matt Shaw.

The investigation deployed both male and female undercover officers after numerous complaints from residents about brazen drug dealing, police said. Several of the arrest warrants allege drug dealing near schools or parks.

Drug agents said Friday the investigation will continue to target areas of known drug activity. The Herald is not identifying some of the police involved because of the undercover nature of their work.

Andrew Dys 803-329-4065

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