Major drug ring busted in Columbia County

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

A major drug ring is busted in Columbia County, and one of the suspects works in the school system.

Nine people in the King Villa subdivision off Washington Road were arrested.

Investigators say drug deals have been going on for years in Appling. It's something that has brought dangerous crimes through the county, and into the school system.

The McCladdie Drive area has been the target of drug trafficking investigations since the early nineties. The drug trade has impacted nearby Brookwood Elementary.

"I'm really surprised that someone who would want to work in the school system would want that type of thing in their life," said Amanda Crunck, whose kids attend Brookwood. Her kids saw 65-year-old Syveria Jackson, the school media clerk, on a weekly basis. Jackson is one of the nine suspects an undercover sergeant has been after for six months.

"It seems like every time we go out there, nothing we've done has prevented them from getting back on the street," the sergeant told News 12.

So the sergeant and other investigators bought drugs undercover, trying to get to the dealer.

"We wanted to move up the food chain, so to speak, to get to Tremain Clark himself, who seemed to be the major player in the neighborhood."

Cars confiscated by the investigators are either stolen or linked to drug money. Investigators also found weapons, and cash in these houses.

A relative of some of the suspects says her family didn't do anything wrong.

"Y'all got the wrong guys, I mean, I'm serious," she said. "There is nothing going on in this neighborhood."

More than just drugs were found in the neighborhood.

"They'll steal whatever they can get their hands on to go up there and either trade for drugs or go to a pawn shop to get the cash for drugs," said the sergeant.

About 50 officers arrested nine people Friday night. Five are still in jail.

Eric Jackson is still wanted. Charges range from trafficking to possession of marijuana and cocaine.

It took five different law enforcement agencies working together on this. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office got help from Richmond County, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

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