Pubdate: Thu, 14 Feb 2002
Source: The Post and Courier (SC)
Copyright: 2002 Evening Post Publishing Co
Author: Glenn Smith, Edward C Fennell
Cited: Charleston Police Department
Note: MAP as a policy does not post drug busts where names and addresses 
are shown to avoid being associated with journalism that convicts people in 
the public mind before guilt has been established. This exception was made 
because of the size of the bust in this town of 106 thousand - the list of 
37 people arrested/wanted has been deleted from the end of the article.


Bails From $2,000 To $100,000 Set For 17 Of 18 Suspects Caught In Operation 

Tuesday's sweeping drug raids on the Charleston peninsula were the result 
of an intensive investigation that used surveillance, informants and 
undercover buys to build cases against low-level dealers, authorities said. 
Acting on complaints from residents, Charleston police launched a probe in 
November that targeted areas where the narcotics trade seemed to prosper, 
said Charles Francis, a police spokesman.

Police declined to give specifics on Operation Dragnet, but arrest warrants 
detail a series of drug purchases made by informants while narcotics 
officers watched. By late Wednesday, the operation had yielded 18 arrests 
and the seizure of drugs, guns and cash. Police were looking for 19 other 
suspects, Francis said. Investigators say the alleged dealers were not part 
of a formal drug ring. One suspect, however, was described by police as a 
main supplier of heroin to downtown Charleston. Olanders Whitley, 35, of 
Charleston is charged with trafficking heroin and possession of the drug 
near a school.

Police seized 62 bags of heroin from a Cannon Street home where Whitley was 
found, warrants stated.

Magistrate Jack Guedalia set bail at $100,000. Guedalia set bails ranging 
from $2,000 to $100,000 for the 17 suspects before him Wednesday. One 
suspect claimed the drugs and cash police linked to him were left in a car 
by someone else. He had borrowed the car, said Damian Laponta Brown, 25, of 
North Charleston. Brown is also one of two suspects accused of trying to 
escape from police Tuesday. Police say Brown and Sheldon Simmons, 28, 
rushed from a vehicle full of suspects outside the Charleston Police 
Department and knocked over an officer in the process.

Both were captured a half-mile away. The lawyer for suspect Janette 
Collins, 49, of Charleston said police were actually looking for his 
client's twin sister.

Collins denies the cocaine charge against her. Cpl. Steven Sierko told the 
judge that police had warrants on both sisters. Attorney Melissa Gay, who 
represents Charleston brothers Maurice and Algernard Young, said a scuffle 
with police Tuesday was the result of a misunderstanding. She said Maurice, 
23, who is accused of struggling with an officer while being arrested on 
drug charges, was "a little confused" by what was going on. Algernard 21, 
who is accused of punching an officer, thought he had permission to leave 
when the officer stopped him, she said. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth