Crime

Lancaster Co. deputies spent 4 months on undercover drug bust. They just arrested 21

Row 1, from left: Alan Mathis, Amber Hardin, Barriell Wells, Carl Hall, Charles Whitt Jr. and Christopher Peele
Row 2: Christopher Rhyne, Crystal Cauthen, Derrick McIlwain, Edrickis Stevens and Gisella Tarque
Row 3: Jaquavious Rhoney, Jennifer Sherrill, Joshua Roberts, Lisa Najera and Marqwevius Seegars
Row 4: Otis Collins, Robert Miller, Samual Lowery, Tavious Moore, Timothy Bowers Jr.
Row 1, from left: Alan Mathis, Amber Hardin, Barriell Wells, Carl Hall, Charles Whitt Jr. and Christopher Peele Row 2: Christopher Rhyne, Crystal Cauthen, Derrick McIlwain, Edrickis Stevens and Gisella Tarque Row 3: Jaquavious Rhoney, Jennifer Sherrill, Joshua Roberts, Lisa Najera and Marqwevius Seegars Row 4: Otis Collins, Robert Miller, Samual Lowery, Tavious Moore, Timothy Bowers Jr.

The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office has arrested and charged 18 people in an undercover drug investigation that lasted four months. Eight more people still are being sought.

The undercover operation lasted through February, March, April and May, and deputies began arresting suspects Wednesday, according to a sheriff's office statement. During the arrests, three additional people were arrested and charged.

Those arrested have been charged with selling drugs, including what was suspected to be heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, methamphetamine, oxycodone, acetaminophen/oxycodone hydrochloride, marijuana and the prescription drug Gabapentin, the statement said.

In 10 cases, people were charged with selling drugs near public parks — including Springdale Park on South Plantation Road, Stafford Belk Park on East Brooklyn Avenue, Preston Blackmon Park on Conner Street, the Wylie Street pool and tennis courts and a park in Kershaw.

“We had a busy week preparing for this operation and getting these people into custody,” Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile said in the statement. “Some of the faces are new, but several have been around the block before. We will keep the pressure on in all areas of the county to put people in jail who continue to sell illegal drugs."

The 18 people arrested and charged as part of the undercover operation are: Samuel Emerick Lowery, 27; Joshua Andrew Roberts, 29; Tavious Antuan Moore, 28; Jennifer Gibson Sherrill, 39; Lisa Leann Pax Najera, 35; Christopher Lynn Rhyne, 29; Amber Lee Hardin, 31; Marqwevius Devonte Seegars, 26; Charles J. Whitt Jr., 52; Carl Nicholas Hall, 35; Gisella Anabel Tarque, 22; Crystal Ann Cauthen, 35; Derrick Antonio McIlwain, 32; Edrickis Marquavis Stevens, 29; Robert Lee Miller, 60; Jaquavious Rashad Rhoney, 18; Alan Lofton Mathis, 59; and Timothy Ray Bowers, Jr., 21.

Also charged during the arrest operation were: Christopher Martin Peele, 23; Barrielle Lecharles Wells, 27; and Otis Lee Collins, 44;

Lowery was charged with distribution of acetaminophen and oxycodone hydrochloride, possession with intent to distribute a Schedule III controlled substance, possession of a Schedule II controlled substance and five counts of possession of a prescription drug without a prescription.

Marqwevius Seegars was charged with distribution of oxycodone, distribution of crack cocaine, distribution of crack cocaine within a half mile of a park, distribution of cocaine, distribution of cocaine within a half mile of a park, distribution of heroin, distribution of heroin within a half mile of a park, distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of methamphetamine within a half mile of a park and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone.

Carl Hall was charged with distribution of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

Tarque was charged with distribution of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute psilocybin, or psychedelic mushrooms.

Roberts was charged with distribution of methamphetamine. Sherrill was charged with distribution of marijuana. Najera was charged with distribution of acetaminophen and oxycodone hydrochloride.

Rhyne was charged with distribution of methamphetamine and distribution of oxycodone. Hardin was charged with distribution of methadone. Whitt was charged with distribution of cocaine and distribution of crack cocaine.

Cauthen was charged with distribution of Gabapentin. McIlwain was charged with distribution of crack cocaine.

Stevens was charged with distribution of crack cocaine, distribution of crack cocaine within a half mile of a park, distribution of cocaine and distribution of cocaine within a half mile of a park.

Miller was charged with distribution of heroin. Rhoney was charged with distribution of marijuana and distribution of marijuana within a half mile of a park. Mathis was charged with distribution of marijuana.

Bowers was charged with distribution of heroin. Moore was charged with distribution of crack cocaine.

Peele was charged with driving under suspension and possession of drug paraphernalia. Wells, a passenger in the car Peele was driving, was charged with carrying a pistol.

Collins was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, possession of ecstasy and possession of a prescription drug without a prescription.

"I want to thank our citizens for continuing to provide us information about suspects and locations that leads to investigations and arrests," Faile said in the statement. "I want to thank my Drug Task Force agents, investigators, and deputies for the hard work they do on operations like this. A lot of preparation goes into these events. I also want to thank my detention center officers. We coordinate plans with them when we know we will be sending them lots of inmates, and they process these folks efficiently and professionally.”

Anyone with information on this or other cases should call the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office at 803-283-3388 or Midlands Crimestoppers at 888-274-6372.

Hannah Smoot: 803-329-4068, @hgsmoot
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