Sumter County, SC (WLTX) - Drugs continue to be a major problem in Sumter County.
The sheriff announced a major drug sting that resulted in 26 arrests Wednesday.
Methamphetamine, opiates, marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and $20,000 worth of counterfeit items were seized in the six-month undercover operation.
County leaders said the problem is only getting worse.
“We’re losing people,” Chief Deputy Hampton Gardner explained. “Especially with the opiates it’s becoming an epidemic everywhere and certainly we have our share in it.”
In the last six months, the office has already had about 100 drug-related arrests which they said is much higher than what they have seen in past years.
They blame the epidemic on access to I-95, prescription drugs falling into the wrong hands and gateway drugs.
Glenn Peagler with Sumter Behavioral Health Services said they see 800-900 people every year with drug addiction.
“The drug problem is definitely getting worse because have more access to the drugs,” Peagler said. “We are going to see an increase here in Sumter and statewide of opium and heroin and we’re trying to get geared right now in order to combat the problem, combat issue as far as treatment goes anyway.”
“We will continue to combat this,” Gardner said.
The sheriff's office is still looking for 12 suspects in relation to their latest drug ring. If you have any information, please call crime stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.