Only on 7: A behind-the-scenes look at Operation Rolling Thunder

Crime

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference Friday morning to discuss this year’s Operation Rolling Thunder.

Sheriff Chuck Wright held the press conference at 10:30 a.m. at the University of South Carolina Upstate.

“We had a very successful week of Rolling Thunder,” Sheriff Wright said. “We have been doing this ever since I have been elected sheriff. It is a good way to keep people from other states, driving through and dropping off drugs and whatever they’re dropping off, stolen weapons.”

Wright said 45 officers from 15 different agencies assisted with the operation. He said they came here for free and were paid by their own agencies to be here.

28 people were arrested, and several weapons were seized along with more than $300,000.

7 News’ Scottie Kay was the only reporter to get to ride along during the 14th annual Operation Rolling Thunder.

“You never know what you’re going to get into. That’s the interesting thing about this job,” Cherokee County Deputy Danny Swanger said. “Every officer and deputy, and all of these agencies that get out here, they put their lives on the line for the public every day.”

Danny Swanger is a deputy for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, but this week, he worked in Spartanburg County as a part of the multi-jurisdictional “Operation Rolling Thunder.” Officers pulled over drivers from all over the country in an annual attempt to get drugs and other illegal things off of I-85 and 1-26.

“The drugs, the guns, these guys who don’t need to be out on the streets and the general motoring public, we’re getting them out of there,” Swanger said.

No one could be pulled over randomly. They had to commit a traffic violation.

Many were caught speeding, following too closely, or improperly changing lanes.

“We want our guys to go home every day safely, we want you to go home every day safely,” Swanger said.

According to officials, 226 vehicles were searched. K-9s were brought out to assist 81 times.

More than 100 pounds of marijuana and two pounds of meth were found–among many other drugs, like heroin, ecstasy, and prescription drugs.

Just one stop by a Duncan police officer brought in more than half of the total amount of drugs that were seized in the operation, while on another stop, deputies found $175,000.

“Found a little over three ounces,” Swanger said. “He had some LSD-type drugs in there as well. A large amount of U.S. Currency and the individual was prohibited from having a firearm and he did have a firearm in the vehicle.”

Deputy Swanger says he hopes to be a part of Operation Rolling Thunder every year.

“It’s been a blast,” he said. “It’s been an eye-opener for me. It’s definitely very educational for any type of law enforcement officer who has a desire to do things like this and keep the public safe.”

(Source: Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office)

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