BELTON, SC (WSPA)– Drugs have been a growing problem for the City of Belton, especially within the last four months.
Belton Police Chief Robert Young said they’ve been able to crack major cases, but the fight is far from over.
“Drugs here is our primary problem. Almost everything else that we investigate have some connection to the drug trade in some way,” Chief Young said.
“What we’ve seen is pretty high concentration of methamphetamine and oddly enough of marijuana,” Young said. “Over the course of the last three or four months, those two seem to be the things we find the most often, when we have contact with people on the street or when we execute search warrants as a result of investigations,” Chief Young added.
Young said they’re facing two problems during the fight against drugs. Young said having enough people to do the job is one problem, and a slowed court system during COVID-19.
“Now some of these people are repeat offenders. The court system is clogged up because of COVID, and even with us making good cases, once people are released from jail, pending trial, we encounter a second or a third time,” Chief Young said.
Officer Jordan Smith is one of the officers witnessing the issue firsthand.
“We seize needles that were loaded with methamphetamine and blood. We seize straws, baggies, scales…” Officer Smith said during a ride-along interview.
Out of roughly 4,500 people living in Belton, Chief Young said mutiple arrests are made every week.
“We’re probably right now making two or three good solid drug arrests every week. In seven days we’d have two, three, four people each week that go to jail,” Chief Young said.
“Any drug that we seize off the street is normally field tested out on the the road, when it’s seized. We also bring it back here to the police department and we’ll test it again,” said Officer Smith.
Smith said the Mill Hill is where drugs are most prominent.
“This is certainly where we get the most narcotic complaints,” Smith said.
Chief Young said even though arrest have been made in neighborhoods all over the city, they’re working to eliminate places where dealers are.
“We work really really hard with the fire department. We work really really hard with the other folks involved in code enforcement issues to eliminate places where that is comfortable for the suspects,” Chief Young said.
As they put their lives on the line everyday, officers said they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get to the root of the problem.
“I’ve got a couple of guys right here that are probably working 50 and 60 hours every week and doing nothing but drug enforcement because we’re that committed to the community,” Chief Young said.
“It’s very rewarding to know that you’re cleaning up the City of Belton,” Smith added.
The police department encourages everyone to help join the fight against drugs. If you have any information that will help investigators, contact the Belton Police Department at (864) 338-8448.