Richland sheriff list drug arrests

State Staff Writer

More than 200 people – including two men described as major drug dealers – have been arrested on narcotics charges in Richland County in the past 90 days, Sheriff Frank Powell announced Tuesday.

Of those arrested, 46 have been charged with trafficking in cocaine and heroin, and agents have seized nearly $1 million in drugs plus six automobiles and eight pistols.

During an afternoon news conference Tuesday to announce the arrests, Powell brandished a thick marijuana stalk, stripped of its leaves, which he said deputies confiscated in a rose garden earlier in the day.

Investigators, he said, were preparing to arrest the grower when he returned home from work.

To his right, Powell displayed large bags of pungent, freshly harvested local marijuana also confiscated Tuesday. More arrested were expected, he said.

To his right, Powell displayed large bags of pungent, freshly harvested local marijuana also confiscated Tuesday. More arrests were expected, he said.

“The narcotics agents of the department targeted major cocaine and herion dealers and initiated operations against these individuals in addition to the street raids which produced the arrests of the street-corner distributors.” Powell said.

He attributed the large number of arrests to the addition of five narcotic officers through increased funding from Richland County Council.

But Powell also said the current $20,000 a-year allowance in “buy money” is not adequate to make large drug buys because the money also must be used for other undercover work, including prostitution and gambling investigations.

For example, he said, his agents recently “had to turn down the purchase of two pounds of heroin because we did not have the money.”

Powell identified the suspected major traffickers arrested as Larry Dennis, 33, and Johnny Dowey, 43, both of Columbia.

Dowey, who has been associated with the Blaney Drag Strip near Elgin for the past 10 years, faces state and federal charges in connection with the alleged distribution of 9 ounces of cocaine between Sept. 5 and Sept. 10.

He was released Tuesday from the Richland County Detention Center after posting a $150,000 federal bond in cash and property. Last week, he posted $50,000 in cash in order to be released on a $500,000 state bond in connection with the same charges of distributing cocaine.

If convicted, Dowey and Dennis face mandatory minimum sentences of 25 years in prison without parole.

“The availability and use of cocaine has greatly increased in the Columbia area,” Powell said. “No longer is cocaine abuse restricted to the middle -to-upper economic levels of society,” he said. “Cocaine is quickly overtaking marijuana as the ‘in’ drug, and is even being experimented with and abused by school-age children. Its use is rapidly reaching epidemic proportions.”

So far this year, agents have arrested 501 persons on drug charges in Richland County, surpassing the 430 arrests for narcotics violations during the entire year of 1984.

September 18, 1985  State (published as The State)  
Columbia, South Carolina
Page 61
September 18, 1985  State (published as The State) 
 Columbia, South Carolina
Page 64

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