Drug dealing big business in Augusta

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

September 24, 2006

Cocaine, marijuana, meth, and even heroin.

You name it, narcotics investigators are finding it on Augusta's streets.

In this Special Assignment, News 12 is On Your Side with what types of drugs are most common and how big a business drug dealing has become in our area.

Blocks of marijuana and foils filled with heroin are just some of the samples we found in Richmond County's vault.

"If you try and narrow it down to a neighborhood, that wouldn't be fair anymore, because it's everywhere in the community," says Sgt. Allen Rollins.

Sgt. Rollins is a 17-year veteran with the narcotics unit. He was also our golden ticket to see what his undercover agents see while working the streets.

"We don't care who's getting them in, we don't care who's getting them, we go after everybody," he says.

Dangerous drugs are often recovered from motels and parking lots and during traffic stops.

A common offense is cocaine possession. Since January of this year, there have been nearly 400 reports of it.

The going rate for one kilo, or block, of cocaine is $23,000.

Small pieces are $20.

We asked Sgt. Rollins if cocaine is the most expensive drug in Augusta.

"Actually, I think heroin would fall into the most expensive drug, because it's just so hard to import and there is such a high value on the heroine itself."

Heroin comes in little foils. A stack of them can run up to $100...but you can buy a single packet for under $20.

That money too often makes its way to the dealer's wallet.

"There's no other way to put it. They are straight up drug dealers," Sgt. Rollins says. "And a lot of them aren't necessarily just dealing one drug. A true drug dealer is going to deal in any drug that'll show a profit for them."

Aside from cocaine, marijuana is and always has been popular to push.

Dime bags are seized daily in Richmond County; 20-pound blocks, once a month.

In the last 12 months, the narcotics team has made nearly 1700 arrests. The overwhelming majority of them - almost 75% - involved marijuana.

"The old days of buying a quarter bag are pretty much gone, and they will run, depending on where you're buying it from, $10 to $15 dollars a bag," Sgt. Rollins says.

A 20-pound block wrapped in green cellophane was imported from California and seized during a drug raid last month.

"These are what we're looking for," Sgt. Rollins says. "This is Christmas."

It is a gift narcotics agents are giving Augusta: ridding its streets of dangerous drugs like blocks of marijuana and foils filled with heroine.

Here's a look at the number of drug-related arrests in Richmond County over the last four years. They range from 1400 to 1600 hundred per year.






Drug Arrests in Richmond County
YEARNUMBER ARRESTED
20031,692
20041,465
20051,431
20061,400+

Sgt. Rollins says Atlanta continues to be a major hub or source city for drugs to be bought, then sold back into Augusta.

Texas, California and the city of Savannah are some others.


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