Pubdate: Tue, 17 Aug 2004
Source: Times and Democrat, The (SC)
Copyright: 2004, The Times and Democrat
Author: Richard Walker, T&D Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


DENMARK - Narcotics investigators have intercepted what they are
calling the biggest marijuana seizure in the history of Bamberg County.

On Thursday, drug enforcement agents from the Bamberg County Sheriff's
Office, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, SLED, Denmark Police
Department and the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office seized about 150
pounds of processed and packaged marijuana, Sheriff Ed Darnell said.

"I think it's great for us to have that much off the streets," Darnell
said. "Although we still have some out there, this is the largest
single seizure in Bamberg County."

Investigators estimate the street value of the seized narcotics to be
about $250,000, Darnell said.

The police received a tip from narcotics agents in California that a
possible shipment would arrive at an undisclosed location in Denmark,
BCSO Investigator Craig Threatt said.

"This was a timely tidbit of information that turned out to be a
sizable lick" on marijuana trafficking in Bamberg, Threatt said. "It
was a joint investigation; the DEA had their supervisor, Orangeburg
County Sheriff's Office, and Denmark City was involved."

After receiving the tip, local police were able to track a group of
eight packages filled with individually wrapped and processed
marijuana bags. Once the packages arrived at the United Parcel Service
facility in Orangeburg, DEA agents and Orangeburg County Sheriff's
Office narcotics officers used drug-detection dogs to confirm the
boxes contained marijuana.

Often, police say, drug dealers attempt to mask the scent of the
narcotic to prevent drug dogs from detecting the contents of the
package. Red peppers, soap and even decayed meat are used in an
attempt to deceive drug dogs, Threatt said.

Last Thursday's shipment was no exception, police say. Wrapped inside
each of the boxes was an unnamed substance aimed at masking the scene
of the massive amount of marijuana.

"That's common," Threatt said. "I'm sure they use all kinds of
different things. A good narcotics dog won't be thrown off."

Police say they are expecting to arrest those responsible for the
shipment in the future. But in the meantime, they say having a large
amount of drugs off the street from this past week's seizure will be
disruptive to the trade in Bamberg and surrounding counties.

"We do believe that it was intended to be distributed locally,"
Threatt said. "It's not the biggest 'pop' I've been involved in, but
it's the biggest in Bamberg County."

The investigation is ongoing, Threatt said.
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