Pelion teens watch cocaine ring bust - - Columbia, South Carolina

Pelion teens watch cocaine ring bust

Ashley Marie Westbrook Ashley Marie Westbrook
Holly Michelle Gleaton Holly Michelle Gleaton
Gary Ricardo Jones Gary Ricardo Jones
Melinda Casey Waters Melinda Casey Waters
Orlando Lekendrick Love Orlando Lekendrick Love

(Pelion) May 5, 2006 - Young eyes are opened after neighborhood teens watch a cocaine ring get busted right in front of them.

Anna Spencer tells WIS' Maggie Alexander what she saw, "I just see a helicopter dropping a man in the backyard. I didn't know what was going on. We ran out into the front yard and we see all these cops running around going into our backyard."

Jennifer Dillow saw the bust too, "I saw helicopters over the house. I saw SWAT team everywhere. I didn't see search dogs. I saw people running across the yard, people getting busted, arrested in the middle of the road."

Edward Judy, 14, found himself in the middle of the action, "We see a whole bunch of cars go in there and some dudes ran out of the house and threw gun. They told us to get on the ground and they put handcuffs on me."

Deputies say people were operating a drug ring out of the home off Windy Wood Road in Pelion. Officials seized crack cocaine and weapons. It was the result of a year-long undercover investigation.

The teens didn't think much about the drug rumors before the raid. Spencer says, "I've heard about it, but I don't know really from what we saw today."

Dillow also heard about it, "I heard the rumors they were drug dealers but I didn't pay much attention to it."

Investigators on Friday released some of the details about what happened down the driveway. A news release from the Lexington Co. Sheriff's Offices says NET officers arrested the following adults, who all were charged with trafficking in crack cocaine, trafficking in cocaine, criminal conspiracy and weapons offenses:

  • 20-year-old Travis Rovonghn Abney, Lexington
  • 17-year-old Holly Michelle Gleaton, Pelion
  • 19-year-old Gary Ricardo Jones, Lexington
  • 23-year-old Orlando Lekendrick Love, no permanent address
  • 23-year-old Stanley Damond Phillips, Gaston
  • 27-year-old Melinda Casey Waters, Lexington
  • 18-year-old Ashley Marie Westbrook, Gaston

NET officers also arrested a 16-year-old boy whose name cannot be released because he is a juvenile.

Lexington County Sheriff James Metts says that after executing the search warrant, NET officers seized about 2.2 ounces of crack cocaine, 15 grams of cocaine and three grams of marijuana as well as $794 in cash, two sets of brass knuckles, body armor, one shotgun and two handguns on which the serial numbers were removed.

Sheriff Metts said the people whom NET officers arrested have ties to Detroit, Michigan, and officers think the narcotics that the drug dealers sold in Lexington County were brought here from Detroit.

Reported by Maggie Alexander

updated 1:38pm by Chantelle Janelle

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