Sumter Co. targets drug dealers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sumter Co. targets drug dealers

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October 23, 2007

Americus-  The streets and neighborhoods in Sumter County are safer tonight. Nearly 40 known drug dealers were arrested Tuesday. Americus Police Chief James Green says some dealers were bold, approaching citizens on city streets.

Before the sun was up Tuesday more than 60 law enforcement officers were on the streets in Sumter County making arrests like this one, targeting known drug dealers.

"Half of my problems are caused by either the sale of drugs, people that are on drugs, they're stealing stuff to get money to purchase drugs," said Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith.

That's why in February, Sheriff Pete Smith got the Georgia Bureau of Investigations involved. For several months undercover officers bought marijuana and crack cocaine in Sumter County's neighborhoods.

"Strictly come in and start mingling with the people and get to know the people to the extent where they're able to make hand to hand purchases of the illegal drugs from them," said GBI Special Agent in Charge Danny Jackson.

Tuesday 44 were targeted with warrants. By mid afternoon, 37 were jailed, among that number three women and a 17-year-old student arrested before class at the high school.

"Every bit that we get, whether it be the smallest amount or the largest amount is important because the person that's selling that drugs is taking that money to do something else with, to buy more drugs with," said Jackson.

While who's supplying street dealers in Sumter County isn't known, investigators say they have a good idea where it's coming from.

"The majority of your drugs came out of south Florida, but that trend has seemed to turn a little bit and a lot of it is coming out of Atlanta," said Smith.

The hope is information from Tuesday's arrests could be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration to keep following the trail and stop more drugs from making their way to Sumter County neighborhoods.

Agents bought as much as $15,000 of crack cocaine and marijuana.

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