WALHALLA — The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office joined the West Union Police Department last week to help the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office conduct a drug and weapons interdiction focused on I-85 and S.C. 11.
According to statistics compiled by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, seven felony arrests were made, one stolen vehicle was recovered, five stolen cell phones were recovered, and three weapons violations were uncovered, including one stolen weapon.
Also, there were 55 total vehicle stops, with 64 total tickets and warnings issued. There were also four total drug cases and 16 vehicles searched. There were also six total K-9 searches.
Oconee County Sheriff Mike Crenshaw, Chief Deputy Kevin Davis, and Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark were among those who attended and spoke during the meeting.
“Oconee and Pickens law enforcement have a long history of working together to combat crime,” Crenshaw said. “We appreciate the assistance during this operation and look forward to more joint operations in the future.”
Pickens County could assist because of mutual aid agreements and being invited by Oconee County to participate.
“It is great to see this cooperation together with two great agencies,” Clark said. “The Sheriff (Crenshaw) and I communicate back and forth and this is a start of things to come. My guys are excited about it and this is a great partnership. I am proud of all of you.”
The focus of the interdiction was primarily drugs, weapons and individuals wanted by law enforcement, but tickets were issued for traffic violations as well and 57 traffic violations were cited.
Caitlyn Danielle Gray, 18, of 200 Patterson Road in Liberty; Charles Michael Salsman, 44, of 609 Mimosa Road, Westminster; Steven Michael Westbrook, 36, of 18 Richard Ave. in Greenville, were arrested after deputies performed a traffic stop on Mauldin Mill Road at Tall Pine Trail near Seneca. Deputies stopped the vehicle because it did not have a South Carolina license tag displayed and the vehicle was over the centerline.
Gray, the driver of the vehicle, was wanted in a neighboring county on larceny. A K-9 performed a free air sniff of the vehicle and detected narcotics. A loaded handgun was found behind the passenger seat.
A check of Salsman and Westbrook revealed they were convicted felons. During a search, officers found methamphetamine and a syringe in Salsman’s shoe and found two handgun rounds on Westbrook. Other drug paraphernalia was found inside the vehicle, which was towed.
Gray was charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol. Salsman was charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Westbrook was charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol.
In a separate incident, Timothy Ralph Blackwell, 45, of 10 Lonsdale St. in Seneca, and Mark Even Medlin, 27, of 200 Little Country Lane in Westminster, were arrested after a deputy noticed a pick-up truck on Lonsdale Street on the Utica Mill Hill with a moped in the back.
The moped was moving as the truck was moving and the strap holding the moped appeared to be loose.
The driver — Medlin — could only produce a driver’s license but no proof of insurance or vehicle registration when asked. A search of Medlin revealed a needle in his pocket.
After consent to search was denied, a K-9 responded and the K-9 detected narcotics in the vehicle during a free-air sniff. A search of the vehicle revealed a handbag that contained materials normally used in manufacturing methamphetamine.
Narcotics agents from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office were notified and the pick-up was towed.
Blackwell and Medlin were charged with conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine charges. Medlin was also charged with two traffic violations on two uniform traffic tickets.
In a third incident, Courtland Littlefield, 21, of 4 Lake Valley Park in Simpsonville; Paul Keland Lindsay, 21, of 335 Cranberry Circle in Mauldin; and Michael Dejuan Sinkler, 20, of 225 Simmons Road in Gray Court, were arrested after deputies performed a traffic stop around 7 p.m. April 3 along I-85 near the Georgia/South Carolina line.
Deputies pulled over a Dodge Caliber with paper plates for failure to maintain lane. Littlefield, the driver, told the deputy he did not have a license.
A Pickens County sheriff’s deputy drew his Taser on Lindsay and Sinkler after Sinkler hit the deputy on the hand, knocking what appeared to be marijuana out of his hand onto the floorboard of the car.
The Pickens deputy saw what appeared to be a bottle of alcohol and a green leafy substance that appeared to be marijuana in the vehicle as well. The vehicle was towed.
A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of a stolen gun, drug paraphernalia, residue of marijuana and several iPhones. Further information revealed that Littlefield’s license had been suspended and marijuana was found on his person.
Littlefield was charged on two uniform traffic tickets with driving under suspension and simple possession of marijuana. Lindsay and Sinkler were charged with unlawful carrying of a pistol and receiving stolen goods.
Sinkler also was charged with third-degree assault and battery for the slapping the deputy’s hand.