It all started in 2009 with a citizen tip about possible drug activity in Sampson County. That launched an investigation that ultimately took down the leader of a trafficking operation responsible for distributing billions of dollars worth of drugs between four different states. Still ongoing, the probe has resulted in a commendation for Sampson’s drug agents.
The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Division (SID) was recognized by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, which encompasses 44 counties, and awarded the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) 2017 Case of the Year for its work on the investigation deemed “Operation Old El Paso.”
“This is huge. It is a really great recognition and it speaks well of our drug unit and this county,” Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton stated. “Anytime a small rural county like ours is given a distinction like this, it speaks volumes.”
From traffic stops to controlled purchases, surveillance (including federal wiretaps), arrests, reports and affidavits, not to mention the hundreds upon hundreds of manhours that came with it, Sampson’s SID agents