UPDATE: 20 now arrested after 'Valley Crackdown' on narcotics

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012

MIDLAND VALLEY, S.C. -- "It sounded like a bomb went off. It's like boom!" said Duncan Engram, who lives on Sudlow Lake Road in Aiken County, describing the flash-bang officers used while bombarding the home of his neighbor.

In fact, Engram walked outside to quite a surprise Wednesday afternoon.

"Man, they had guns drawn everywhere. They were confiscating cars and what not," he said.

Officers were raiding the house next door as part of an operation they're calling "Valley Crackdown."

"That was the result of a two- to three-month long undercover investigation, where operatives of the Sheriff's Office went out and made controlled buys at several target areas of the county," said Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt.

A stack of warrants shows those undercover operatives bought crack-cocaine and marijuana all over. They bought in North Augusta on Seymour Drive, which is walking distance from North Augusta Middle School. They also bought throughout Midland Valley: on Avalon Drive in Clearwater near Midland Valley Park and at the Rainbow Motel also in Clearwater. They bought multiple times in Burnettown, including a spot on Breeze Hill Road, which is close to the Burnettown Police Department and the park behind it. They also bough on Carline Road near the Willie Whaley Park. In Langely, they bought near Langely Pond Park. They even bought drugs near Aiken Technical College in Warrenville. The operatives bought drugs on Kneece Street in Gloverville. They bought on Old Cherokee Indian Road in Graniteville, too.

"As a result of this operation, we arrested [19] people, served two search warrants, confiscated $10,000, and five vehicles," Hunt said.

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office also took $6,000 of crack off the streets. Now, they're just looking for eight more suspects. Hunt says they should be considered armed and dangerous.

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office led the investigation, but the Aiken Department of Public Safety, the North Augusta Department of Public Safety, and the local ATF Task Force helped out, too.

Hunt says taking drug dealers off the streets helps reduce property crimes and burglaries, too. He says drug addicts have to find money, and a lot of times that means stealing.

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