Drug Operation Dismantled

Pill Producers Arrested and Charged

Emily Gill
February 21, 2020 - 12:11 pm
Pills and Cash

Greenville County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit

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Released by Greenville County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit.

Bart McEntire, the Commander of the Greenville County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit (DEU) announces the dismantling of a large and complex heroin/fentanyl/methamphetamine pill press operation ongoing in the Berea section of Greenville County.

On Thursday, February 20, 2020, DEU investigators supported by the GCSO Directed Patrol Unit served a search warrant on a residence located at 105 North Oak Forest Drive, Greenville, S.C.

The search warrant was based on a month’s long investigation where investigators learned of a potential desktop type pill press being utilized to produce tablet forms of heroin/fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Pill Press
GCMDEU

McEntire stated “the tablets were being sold across the Greenville area. The spread of these pills trafficked across Greenville County is frightening when you think of the potential health risks to users and the sheer number of fentanyl pills being uncovered by law enforcement is alarming. The Greenville County law enforcement community takes the deadly distribution of fentanyl and methamphetamine seriously and pill forms of these dugs heightens the concern. ”

The Greenville County law enforcement community is warning the community that the use of any pill not prescribed by a licensed medical professional and dispensed by a licensed pharmacist could have deadly consequences.

Persons purchasing and using pills of unknown manufacture can never know the substance used to make the pill and the pill is nearly indiscernible from any legitimate pharmaceuticalmanufactured tablet.

McEntire expresses great concern on the rise of the “garage manufacturers.”

Persons who with little to no background in any avenue of chemistry or science and with no regard to human life manufacture pills for profit.

These “garage chemists” could kill unsuspecting members of our community not only in Greenville County but across the U.S. Pill presses lack any level of real control and are easily purchased through the use of the internet.

The desktop pill press seized by law enforcement is capable of producing 3,000 to 5,000 tablets an hour.

Law enforcement officers making entry into the residence encountered an operational pill press machine that showed signs of having been operated for months.

Pills and Cash
GCMDEU

The walls and flooring where the machine was being used was covered with a green colored powder emanating from the use of binding agents being used in the manufacturing process. 

Investigators determined the health risk raised to a level where assistance from the SC National Guard Civil Response Team (CRT) was asked to respond.

The CRT comes with the necessary equipment to measure air quality and to take samples of suspicious powders to determine the level of risk to the responding law enforcement officers.

After a lengthy series of tests and sampling, the CRT declared the residence safe enough for investigators to complete the processing of the residence for evidence of narcotics trafficking.

However, investigators still were required to wear protective protection suits and masks while processing the scene.

Community residents living in proximity to the residence were not in harm’s way.

During the search, in addition to the pill press, investigators found a substantial quantity of finished tablets which tested for heroin/fentanyl and methamphetamine, two firearms (including a pistol stolen from Mauldin), U.S. Currency, magnesium stearate, firmabond baby blue powder, masks, caffeine bottles, and bottles of other compression binders.

Charged with Trafficking in Methamphetamine 200g400g and Trafficking Heroin over 28 grams is Latravic Bigby, dob 01/30/1985 and Vanhorren Hor, dob 11/22/1991.

Latravic Bigby and Vanhorren Hor
GCMDEU

“The spread of opioid based drugs and methamphetamine has accelerated at an already deadly epidemic in Greenville County,” said Sheriff Johnny Mack Brown “dangerous synthetics such as fentanyl and methamphetamine, simply put, will kill unwitting individuals. It’s critical that we get unregistered pill presses off the street and hold these bad characters responsible for pushing these illegal drugs.”

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