Drug bust puts Butler Co. dealers behind bars - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Drug bust puts Butler Co. dealers behind bars

Mug shots from 15 of the 20 arrests. Mug shots from 15 of the 20 arrests.

Early morning drug busts put 20 people behind bars.

Butler County Sheriff's deputies, Greenville Police and the 2nd District Drug Task Force went door to door this morning arresting drug dealers.

Officials call it a 'war on drugs,' something they started a few years ago.

And according to them, it's working to reduce crime.

"The more they put them behind bars, the happier I am. Then, I know they're not coming in here," says Jean Payne, the owner of an antique store in downtown Greenville.

She has been the target of crime before.

"People coming in here selling stolen goods. I think a lot of times it was involving drugs. I'm not sure of that but I feel like it was," says Payne.

Her store was even broken into--something Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden says was happening more frequently a few years ago before law enforcement started cracking down on drugs.

"By the way we work drugs has really helped our county," says Harden.

Harden says a regional drug task force made up of Greenville police officers and Sheriff's deputies conducted undercover stings to catch handfuls of drug offenders.

At 4:30 in the morning, they went knocking on suspects' doors.

"They're kinda shocked to see us at that time of morning," says Harden.

The drug task force that assisted in making the arrests is funded by a grant that has been decreasing over the years. As officials get ready to reapply for the grant money, they're fearful fewer dollars could compromise the much needed program.

"First time we got it was close to $130,000 [dollars]. In three years it's dropped to about $70,000."

Sheriff Harden says the loss of funding isn't easy.

But one thing is for sure.

"We're gonna continue to work drugs as hard as we can."

It's reassurance for Ms. Payne.

"Yeah, that makes me feel good."

Sheriff Harden says the task force will be making more drug arrests in connection with the recent round-up.

The group typically makes two big drug busts each year.


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