MUGS: 16 Charged in Clemson Area Drug Sting - WFLA News Channel 8

MUGS: 16 Charged in Clemson Area Drug Sting

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PICKENS COUNTY, S.C. - Sixteen people are charged with possessing or distributing illegal drugs in the Clemson area after a months-long undercover sting.

Six of them are current students at Clemson.

Those 16 people face a total of 47 charges. Forty-two are felonies.

The undercover investigation has been going on since January. It was a cooperative effort between the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Pickens County Sheriff’s Office, Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Clemson University Police Department and Clemson City Police Department.

Most of the arrests were related to marijuana. Some were related to LSD, ecstasy and Xanax.

Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark said these drugs are different than they were just five years ago. They’re stronger and more dangerous.

“The pharmaceutical make-up is different. The strength of these drugs – including marijuana – is different. What we used to see as old, cheap marijuana has been replaced by highly grown – scientifically grown,” said Clark.

Clark said cracking down on people who take advantage of a college environment to sell drugs has a broader community impact.

“You have future engineers, future scholars, future teachers, future people working for the betterment of their country and their community destroyed, a lot of times, by drug use going into their environment,” said Clark.

It’s a problem Clemson University Director of Student Health Services George Clay is well aware of. He said college students are particularly vulnerable to drug abuse.

“College life is stressful and I think some students do turn to drug use in order to deal with the changes and the stresses in their lives,” said Clay.

Clark said pulling drug dealers and users off campus and off the streets of the county is about more than just getting rid of drugs. He said drugs are related to many other crimes you see around Pickens County, like robberies and car break-ins.

He said he hopes these arrests will lead to even more arrests moving forward.

“We hope to grow this tree as big as we can grow it,” said Clark.

Law enforcement is still looking for three people charged in the sting: Niesha D. Webb of Pendleton, Kayla Rae Erickson of Simpsonville, and Matthew Evan Roisum of Central. If you have information on where they are, call the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at 864-898-5500.

Drug crime on Clemson’s campus has remained pretty steady in recent years compared to the overall numbers for universities in South Carolina.

There were 69 Clemson University drug arrests in 2010, 63 in 2011, and 73 in 2012.

Compare that to colleges statewide which have increased steadily since 2010, when there were about 400 drug arrests. In 2012, there were more than 450 drug arrests at South Carolina college campuses.

16 Charged in Clemson Area Drug Sting

Sixteen people are charged with possessing or distributing illegal drugs in the Clemson area after a months-long undercover sting. More>>

Jenna Troum
Jenna is a general assignment reporter covering Greenville, Pickens and Laurens Counties.
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