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Operation Red Dot leads to eight drug arrests

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POSTED: April 10, 2007 5:00 a.m.

A joint task force involving members of the Pembroke Police Department and the Bryan County Sheriff’s Department conducted an operation early Monday morning resulting in the arrest of seven alleged drug dealers and one reported drug user.

All were charged with allegedly selling or buying drugs in Pembroke.

The eight people arrested during Operation Red Dot were Cameron Greenwood, Deandre Dixon, Thomas Miller, David Lambert, Dexter Rawls, Adonte Lavant, Wendy Anderson and Ricky Smith.

All but Rawls, who was charged with possession of cocaine, were charged with selling drugs ranging from cocaine to ecstasy.

In addition, the task force is still looking for three men.

The multi-home round-up was called "Operation Red Dot" which authorities said is an acronym for "running every drug dealer outta town."

The unit was led by Pembroke PD Sergeant Billy Gray and BCSD Sergeant Gary Provost, who have been working for the past year and a half on the front lines of the Bryan County drug scene.

The operation itself was a result of three months of surveillance. The majority of those targeted in this operation allegedly sold drugs near Bryan County schools.

The task force met at BCSD in Pembroke at 2 a.m. for a briefing. Pembroke Police Chief Bill Collins was present at the briefing as well.

"There are many factors that attributed to the 11 warrants that will be served this morning," Gray said during the briefing. "We get phone calls all the time informing us of areas or individuals involved in drug activity. We concentrated our surveillance on the areas that had received the highest volume of complaints. Most of these 11 people are prior drug offenders as well."

Gray gave officers copies of an itinerary listing 11 residences in or near Pembroke along with photos and other information.

The task force, made up of 11 officers utilizing three vehicles, consecutively visited all 11 listed residences within hours. At each stop, the vehicles simultaneously pulled in front of the target residence with officers quickly dispersing and surrounding the home.

The front door was then knocked in, with officers gaining entrance after consent being given or after eyeing the suspect. Arrests followed in most cases.

Many of the suspects were picked up without incident shortly after being woken up. But there were hazards involved for police.

For example, a large number of firearms were present at the residence where Greenwood was arrested.

In another case, two of Lavant’s relatives were arrested on disorderly conduct and obstruction charges at BCSD after a confrontation with members of the task force.

Lavant’s family asserted he was falsely accused of a crime. Gray said Lavant confessed to the charges on the warrant.

"You never know what to expect during something like this," said Cpl. Ryan Harwood, part of Monday’s task force. "Especially when drugs are involved, people can be completely unpredictable and often dangerous. Tonight went pretty smooth though."

He said there’s more drug activity in Bryan County than people realize.

"More than you think," Harwood said. "I mean, who would’ve thought that we’d be serving nearly a dozen felony drug warrants in one night in the little town of Pembroke?"

Provost said strides have been made in recent years regarding law enforcement in the area.

"In 1991, you couldn’t even come into this area alone," he said of the 400 block.

He added that increased officers and the increase in arrests through the years have made this and other areas in the county safer.

"This is only the first of many of these operations," Gray said.

Gray said Monday’s raid made an impact on the illegal drug market "not only because of the eight individuals we arrested tonight, but also because of the message we are sending to other local people that may be involved in ongoing local drug activity. Sooner or later, you will be caught."

 

 

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