The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office concluded Operation Fall Harvest, a months-long drug investigation yesterday, Thursday, October 20, 2016, with the arrests of multiple subjects for drug and weapons offenses. Over two dozen officers spread out across the county beginning early yesterday morning armed with approximately 80 arrest warrants for almost 50 people. The team was comprised of agents of the Drug Task Force, criminal investigators, the Street Crimes Unit, and uniformed deputies who were joined by agents from the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
The operation began in January of this year and involved the undercover purchase of illegal drugs from subjects in all areas of the county. The buys concluded late last month. The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in some of the undercover operations. The subjects and the geographic areas of the investigation were based upon information provided by confidential informants, intelligence gathered by Drug Task Force agents, and complaints from citizens. Approximately 135 charges were made on 70 people as a result of the investigation. Some of those charged in the operation were arrested before Thursday. Twenty-three (23) people were taken into custody during the warrant service operation yesterday. No search warrants were served yesterday, but several were executed through the course of the investigation which resulted in the seizure of illegal drugs, guns, and cash.
Several new charges arose Thursday. When officers went to the home of Billy Ray Danzy to arrest him on outstanding warrants, they found approximately a pound and a half of a substance suspected to be marijuana, two handguns, three shotguns, a rifle, and $2,636.00 in cash, all of which were seized. Danzy was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana in addition to his other charges. When Willie McNeal was arrested at a residence, he was in possession of three small bags of suspected marijuana and digital scales, and he was also charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana in addition to his other charges. Mitchell Scott Pate was stopped for a vehicle equipment violation as officers searched for subjects, and he was found to be in possession of suspected methamphetamine, suspected marijuana, smoking pipes, and a pistol. He was charged with Possession of Methamphetamine, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Carrying a Pistol, and Driving Under Suspension.
Forty-five (45) charges for crack cocaine, 23 for cocaine, 19 for heroin, and 29 for marijuana were made along with 30 charges for controlled substances in pill form. Twenty (20) trafficking charges and 75 distribution charges are among those totals. Nine (9) firearms charges were also made, and several weapons were seized.
“As long as the sun keeps rising there will be those in our community who, for various reasons, continue to use and deal illegal drugs,” said Sheriff Barry Faile. “As secretive as they might think their activities are, they are known to our citizens and become known to law enforcement. We will continue to conduct these operations and put as many of these people in jail as we can. The rise in the use of heroin and pills is alarming, and we have had far too many calls for overdoses and overdose deaths from these substances in our county. By conducting these operations, we also combat violent crimes and property crimes and protect the children of parents who choose this lifestyle.”