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Operation Rolling Thunder: South Carolina's Annual Police Dragnet


Last week was the sixth annual Operation Rolling Thunder police crack-down in Spartanburg, SC. Each year, law enforcement from North and South Carolina converge on the Spartanburg interstate highways for a five-day dragnet aimed at drug trafficking. This year officers made 18 felony arrests, netting $215,000 of seized cash, 11 pounds of cocaine, and eight pounds of marijuana. 

“The numbers are a bit lower than in the past, I’m proud of that, meaning they are staying out of Spartanburg County, which that is our desire,” said Sheriff [Chuck]Wright. “I try to tell everybody that every piece of drug paraphernalia or drug you can find and get off the street, that’s one more somebody’s son or daughter that’s not having to deal with that.

Here are last year’s totals, according to the AP:

Last year, the operation ended with 73 arrests. Officers also seized $86,000 in cash, 13 pounds of cocaine, 7 pounds of marijuana and thousands of pills as well as other illegal items like guns counterfeit checks and fake designer purses.

Spartanburg is in western South Carolina, near the intersection of I-85 and I-26. The operation is advertised locally, and many of the arrests are of out of state drivers. Still, you wonder if they’d be better off not advertising, or switching up the timing. As Sheriff White says, drug runners are staying out of Spartanburg (likely because they’ve heard about the operation), which may be good for Spartanburg. But it just means they’re taking a different route.