Jacksonville law enforcement cracks down on multi-year drug operation

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A two-year drug investigation in Onslow County lands several people behind bars. Members were part of an illegal drug trade organization in Jacksonville.

Wednesday afternoon the U.S. Attorney’s held a press conference releasing information about their latest sentencing, Anthony Dupree Smith, also known as Straight. The ring leader of the operation was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Smith was convicted of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine.

Evidence in court showed Smith operated a decades-long crack cocaine drug organization in Jacksonville. Other evidence showed a $118,000 cash deposit into a bank account from Smith that could not be accounted for other than drug money.

U.S. Attorney Robert J. Higdon Jr. said, “We were able to work our way through this drug trafficking organization to target and ultimately prosecute the man controlling the operations but who tried to keep his fingerprints off the evidence.”

Undercover detectives and officers with the Jacksonville Police Department purchased from defendants who were part of the operation. The two-year drug investigation, Straight Outta Niru, led them to Smith.

9 people were charged and sentenced in relation to the drug trafficking operation.

Higdon Jr. said, “As with any good and focused drug operation, law enforcement and prosecutors used the evidence gained in the early phases of operation to work their way up the chain to those who control the operation and that led them to Mr. Straight.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office also added sources of supply were obtained in North Carolina as well as out of state.

Officials credit the Take-Back North Carolina Initiative for justice. The task force is a group of prosecutors and law enforcement agencies that reduce drug trafficking and violent crime rates.

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