Big drug bust is ‘beginning of something much bigger,’ sheriff says

Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 8:00 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Nineteen suspected members of a drug trafficking organization are off the Richmond County streets and behind bars after an undercover investigation.

During the investigation, they used 18 search warrants. Investigators seized cocaine, meth, oxycodone, Xanax and weapons.

We talked to Sheriff Richard Roundtree about the operation to give us a better idea of the importance of these investigations.

These investigations are critical for the sheriff’s office to carry out. These 19 people are just the initial phase of this investigation. The goal of doing this is that it will get more drugs and guns off the streets to cut down on violent crime.

With 19 people behind bars, Roundtree says the job is not finished.

“We’re pleased with the outcome. We’re not pleased with the fact that they’re using our community to traffic narcotics or guns,” he said.

Drug busts of this size are the foundation of cleaning up the streets of Augusta.

“It doesn’t stop here. This is just another steppingstone to stop drug activity and gun violence in the area,” said Roundtree.

After two years, they expect a total of 50 to 60 arrests in this investigation.

“It looks like the end of a two-year investigation, but it becomes the beginning of something much bigger,” he said.

There are so many moving parts to long-term investigations. They do it to get to the root of the issue.

Over the past few years, Roundtree says they’ve moved from gang-related crimes over the drug scene.

“You stay with the investigation if it’s bearing fruit until it becomes too dangerous or until we feel that the target of our investigation comes into play. The citizens of Augusta can rest a little bit easier to the fact that that product will never be used for evil again,” he said.

The sheriff’s office will continue pushing this message out—

“We’re not going to stop fighting crime in Richmond County. We’re not going to stop coming after you. It may look like on the surface that you’re winning, but you’re not. Their time is coming. The message will be clear when it’s you on the other side of that cell block,” said Roundtree.

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