MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon joined two North Carolina U.S. Attorneys Wednesday at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center to remind the public that law enforcement can and will cross state lines to track down drug traffickers.
Over 400 law enforcement partners are meeting at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center this week to discuss how to best fight drug trafficking.
“We’re not going anywhere,” said U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon, who represents the District of South Carolina. That’s the message U.S. Attorneys from both Carolinas brought to Myrtle Beach Wednesday morning.
“Don’t come to our district if you plan on selling drugs, because you’re going to spend a long time in this district, but it’s going to be behind bars,” said Western District of North Carolina U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray.
They’re cracking down on drug crimes, and partnering with each other to help indict criminals.
“We are erasing the district lines, we are erasing the state lines, to make sure there is no place for them to hide in either of these two states,” said Eastern District of North Carolina U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon, Jr.
The Organized Criminal Drug Enforcement Task Force, or OCDETF, conference began 22 years ago to train those involved in drug investigations.
Because of law enforcement’s partnerships, in the last year, the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Eastern District of North Carolina prosecuted more than 1,000 criminals, and half of them were involved in drug trafficking.
“We take our lead from the President and from the Attorney General who’ve made it clear that that is what we should be focused on in our districts as we, as our goal being to drive down the crime rates in our communities,” said Higdon Jr.
Drug criminals cross state lines every day, it’s seen from Little River, to Tabor City and the Charlotte area.
“You have heard me over the last 18 months, since I took office as U.S. Attorney, bang the drum about the problems in Myrtle Beach, and we are here today to let you know that we are continuing to fight those problems,” said District of South Carolina U.S. Attorney Sherri Lydon.
Right now, the closest federal courthouse is in Florence, and Lance Crick says that poses challenges for those agents working on long term drug investigations, but they’re hoping to get one at the beach.
“All of those individuals, all of our agents are tasked with coming some 60 or 70 miles to a federal courthouse in Florence, so it would be wonderful to have a courthouse in Myrtle Beach,” said Crick.
U.S. Attorney Lydon says between 2018 and 2019, in Myrtle Beach, 60 defendants were convicted of drug trafficking crimes, thanks to the task force.