RED SPRINGS — Red Springs police arrested 41 people Monday as part of a drug and warrant-violation raid.
Calling the effort Operation Spring Cleaning, Red Springs police made 16 drug arrests and captured another 24 people who have outstanding warrants on a variety of offenses. Officers began making surprise home visits to pick up those suspected of crimes at about 3:30 a.m. Monday. Police expect to pick up another 50 people this week on outstanding warrant charges.
A van was parked outside the Red Springs Police Department to transport those charged to the Robeson County jail.
Police Chief Ronnie Patterson said his department has spent the past four months making undercover drug buys from street-level dealers.
“The undercover operation has been a success and we have been able to get many of the people selling drugs in different communities off the street,” Patterson said. “Now our residents will be able to get out on their porches and enjoy the summer.”
Patterson added that he hoped the raid will serve as a warning to drug dealers.
“We would like for them to stop,” Patterson said, “But if they are not going to stop, I would suggest that they get out of Red Springs because we’re going continue to keep an eye out for them.”
Jerry Ray Locklear Jr. of Shannon expressed shock that he was charged with illegally selling the prescription pill Vicodin.
“Where’s the proof? I know for a fact that I didn’t sell no Vicodin,” the 22-year-old construction worker said. “All the people running around here selling crack and killing people and they are going to get me out of my bed for this?”
But police Sgt. Stevie Joe said that most of the people arrested on drug charges had sold to an undercover officer.
“If you’re here, it is pretty clear that you had some dealings with our officers,” Joe told the accused. “Actions have consequences. Didn’t anyone ever tell you to just say no to drugs?”
Marcel McKoy, who was waiting to be fingerprinted, shook his head in disgust. He was charged with selling cocaine.
“My people said to just say no to being arrested,” McKoy said.