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North Carolina drug operation leads to 9 arrests

A 41-year-old man became the ninth person arrested in connection with a major North Carolina narcotics operation on March 14 when he was taken into custody by officers from the Southern Pines Police Department. Launched in February 2018, "Operation Leader", which was named after a successful attack conducted by U.S. Navy aircraft against German targets in Norway during World War II, was designed to disrupt the distribution and sale of heroin and cocaine in the Southern Pines area. State and federal law enforcement agencies provided assistance to the SPPD during the investigation.

The man, who is being held on an $8.1 million bond at the Moore County Detention Center, has been charged with 29 felonies and faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life behind bars. The investigation into drug distribution broadened in scope when police learned that a 32-year-old man taken into custody during its initial stages was allegedly a prominent member of a street gang involved in narcotics trafficking and sales.

The ensuing sweep led to the arrest of a further seven individuals and the recovery of firearms, drugs and other items in multiple jurisdictions according to a SPPD press release. The department credits 'Operation Leader" for disrupting a major drug trafficking and convoy operation in the area.

When people are taken into custody on serious drug charges after several others have been, experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise them to act quickly if they are thinking about seeking a negotiated plea agreement. This is because prosecutors tend to make their most generous sentencing offers to those who step forward first. Once prosecutors have secured the evidence they need from other cooperating defendants, they may be less willing to reduce narcotics charges or penalties.

Source: The Pilot, "9th Arrest Made in Southern Pines Drug Probe", Jaymie Baxley, March 15, 2019

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