'Operation Pop Rocks' busts up drug ring trafficking cocaine and heroin into the Midlands

'Operation Pop Rocks' busts up drug ring trafficking cocaine and heroin into the Midlands

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A federal grand jury has returned a 41-count indictment against a drug trafficking ring allegedly bringing cocaine and heroin into the Midlands.

According to the US Attorney's Office, Jermaine Southall, Bilal Muhammad, Jamie Patterson, Lee Ball, Christopher Fulton, and Aaron Meroney have been indicted for distributing and conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine as well as using telephones to facilitate drug trafficking.

An investigation by multiple Midlands law enforcement agencies and state and federal officials began after all the agencies began sharing information on smaller drug investigations. They came to the conclusion that undercover purchases of hard drugs were being supplied by one trafficking ring.

RELATED: See others arrested in the Midlands this month.

"The investigation and federal indictment are the products of significant coordination between federal and local law enforcement agencies, and represent the commitment of the United States Attorney's Office to combat the heroin epidemic that our community is currently facing,"  US Attorney Beth Drake said in a statement.

"This case serves as just one example of the ongoing efforts of local Narcotics Bureau detectives who will continue to work diligently, together with our law enforcement partners, to prevent additional overdose tragedies related to this poison," Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said. "Working with our community, we will overcome the Heroin/Opioid epidemic that has plagued the entire country."

All six men are scheduled to appear in federal court for bond hearings on Aug. 10.

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