DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Two North Carolina sheriff’s offices joined Durham County’s in an operation that resulted in 16 arrests and seizures of guns, drugs and cash.

The Alamance and Orange County sheriff’s offices joined in assisting the successful completion of the latest Sheriff’s Targeted Enforcement Program. STEP began in 2019 and identified high-priority wanted subjects, as well as, areas of high crime for enhanced performance.

In other operations, members of the DCSO Criminal Investigation Division, Sheriff’s Anti-Crime and Narcotics Unit and Warrants Unit were joined by law enforcement partners from surrounding agencies to serve active arrest warrants on those suspected of drug and gang activity.

“For eight days — beginning at the end of January 2023 — Durham, Orange and Alamance County deputies embarked on an intense period of investigation related to gun violence, drug, and gang activity,” said Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead. “These efforts are the result of requests from residents in our community for a more proactive approach to curb these types of crime on our streets.”  

In previous STEP operations, local community members approached sheriff’s office employees and expressed support for the efforts to remove wanted people from the streets of Durham.

From Jan. 25 to Feb. 3, deputies located and served 16 suspects that had active felony arrest warrants for various charges. During their investigations, law enforcement observed other instances of criminal activity.

The sheriff said they conducted more than 200 traffic stops which led to 10 additional arrests that totaled 60 charges. Deputies seized seven guns, including one “ghost gun”, more than $1,800 in cash and various drugs including fentanyl.

The totals for drugs seized amount to:

  • 2.5 ounces of schedule I substance,
  • 6.2 ounces of schedule II substance,
  • Two grams of schedule III substance,
  • 1.4 ounces of schedule IV substance, and
  • three pounds of schedule VI substance.

“I want to thank Sheriff Charles Blackwood of Orange County and Sheriff Terry Johnson of Alamance County for providing us with personnel and other resources to make this effort a success,” Birkhead said. “Criminals and criminal activity know no boundaries. They cross over from Orange, Alamance, and other neighboring counties, making these partnerships invaluable for all involved and the communities we serve.”