CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – To eliminate the heroin epidemic that’s plaguing Horry County and surrounding areas, police say they need to target the big drug traffickers.
In a press conference Thursday morning, several law enforcement agencies came together to announce the results of a two-year investigation hunting down those alleged dealers.
Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, the Horry County Police Department, the Myrtle Beach Police Department, the North Myrtle Beach Police Department, the 15th Circuit’s Drug Enforcement Unit, the Georgetown Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office came together to explain the 13 arrests and who is still wanted by police.
United States Attorney Beth Drake credited the different agencies for taking down several members of the Billie East Side Bloods gang.
“These are some serious offenders, so it’s going to have some, but here’s what we’re going to do- we’re going to continue,” promised Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson. “This is not a onetime deal and it’s over.”
Police say it’s a national gang, and members have been trafficking heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and marijuana in South Carolina. The Attorney General did not give many details about the gang because they are still investigating, but North Myrtle Beach Police Chief Phil Webster says he knows members of this gang are in his city.
“We do do some work in trying to interdict the sale of narcotics,” says Webster. “I know this particular group is in and around our city.”
Horry County Police Chief Joseph Hill says gangs and drugs go hand in hand, so in order to get drugs off the streets, his department will continue these major partnerships and target the big time dealers.
“If you’re dealing drugs or committing crime in Horry County or any one of the jurisdictions up and down the (Grand) Strand, we’re coming after you,” warns Hill. “We’re not stopping.”
Horry County leaders say they recognize gang activity in different communities throughout the county, and are working with neighbors to make sure they know how to spot the signs as well. Meetings like the one in Loris Thursday night, hosted by Horry County Police Department Gang Investigator Lynn Baker, show parents how to tell if their child may be involved in a gang, or a target of gang recruitment.
The 13 arrests made in connection with Thursday’s press conference were made throughout Myrtle Beach, Florence and Charleston. Those arrested, according to documents distributed at the press conference, include:
Barbara Landy, Joshua Lee Randall, Frank William Truitt, Adrian Jerell Lane, Sydney Devin McDougall, Jerrick Larod Thomas, Chelsey Nicole Inman, Derek Bellamy, Timothy Singletary, Alexis Kirt, Matthew DeWitt, Stacy Cambas, and Andrew Perry.
Court documents reveal that Landy, Randall, Truitt, Lane, Bellamy and Singletary were members of the Billie East Side Bloods.