Lincoln Co. High School student arrested following drug sweep

Lincoln Co. High School student arrested following drug sweep

LINCOLNTON, GA (WFXG) - A Lincoln County High School student was arrested following a joint drug sweep of the middle and high schools on Thursday.

Officials with the Lincolnton Police Department said Aaron J. Smith, 18, was taken into custody after K-9 Units from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office indicated the presence of drugs in the vehicle, which was parked in the school parking lot. He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana on school property. He is currently being held at the Lincoln County Detention Center on a $7,500 bond.

During the sweep, officers also discovered other items associated with drug use, as well as contraband not allowed on school property. The suspects in these cases were turned over to school administration for further handling.

Sheriff Beggs said the sweep was organized after his agency and the Lincolnton Police Department received numerous complaints from parents, school staff, and students. He said this was a great example of the office and the city police working together. Members of the Columbia County K-9 Unit and officers from the Georgia State Patrol and Georgia Department of Corrections Probation Division also provided assistance.

Both Beggs and Police Chief, Gene Poss, applauded the cooperation of the school staff in assisting with and supporting the joint operation."The school staff was very cooperative and great to work with," said Chief Poss.

Both officers said they plan to conduct random sweeps in the near future, as well into the next school year. The school staff provided a range of dates suitable for such an activity, and even school staff were not aware of the actual date the sweep would take place. According to the sheriff, this gave an element of surprise as to when the operation would take place.

During the sweep, the sheriff's dispatch center received numerous calls about the large law enforcement presence on the campus. They were instructed to advise callers that the operation was routine, and that no students or staff were in danger.

Following completion of the sweep, officials used the county's emergency RedAlert system to ease the public's concern about what had taken place at the schools. Sheriff Beggs encourages citizens who are not subscribed to the Red Alert system to subscribe to it, so they can receive timely information about weather and law enforcement emergencies, as well as other urgent notices. Citizens may sign up for the RedAlert system by visiting the county's web page at www.Lincoln and following the link on the home page or by visiting the Office of Emergency services to manually enroll in the system.

In an incident unrelated to the sweep, Javaunte Tyshawn Carter, 17, of Lincolnton, was arrested at the high school and charged with possession of cocaine, hydrocodone, and controlled substances in a Drug Free (School) Zone. Carter was arrested by city police after receiving information from school officials who said they believed he was in possession of the drugs. Carter was taken into custody on Friday, March 20, and was later released on a $20,000.00 bond.

Both Sheriff Beggs and Chief Poss said in a joint statement, "We will continue to work to eliminate drug availability to our children." They ask anyone having information on drug activity to contact the sheriff's office at 706.359.4118, or the city police department at 706.359.3121.

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