Sheriff: Arrests net 'main players' in Aiken drug trade

Four people, whom Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt has called "main players in the drug trade," were arrested on Hampton Avenue late Tuesday after deputies said they caught the group with 17 pounds of marijuana, other drugs and more than $77,000 of drug money. "Somebody's hurting today," the sheriff said about the amount of money and drugs taken off the streets during a traffic stop that resulted in four arrests. The drugs have a street value of about $41,000, Hunt said. Eric Lavell Frazier, 25, of Vincent Avenue in Aiken will be charged with trafficking cocaine, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and assault and battery on a police office. Johnny Lamont Frazier, 30, of Vincent Avenue in Aiken will be charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bennie Wright, 32, of Dillon Avenue in Aiken will be charged with trafficking marijuana, trafficking cocaine, unlawful carrying of a pistol and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. Shayla Holmes, 32, of Jackson Road in Jackson will be charged with trafficking marijuana, trafficking cocaine, unlawful carrying of a pistol and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. All four have been arrested previously on multiple drug charges, said Lt. Troy Elwell, a spokesperson for the Aiken County Sheriff's Office. At a news conference the sheriff held Wednesday afternoon, Hunt explained that special operations division deputies have increased patrols in and around the Hampton Avenue area because of problems both Sheriff's Office deputies and Aiken Public Safety officers have witnessed ongoing in the area. He said those deputies working the special detail noticed two vehicles stopped in the middle of the intersection at Morgan Street and Hampton Avenue around 11 p.m. Tuesday. They initialed a traffic stop and found two people in each vehicle, he explained. The deputies said they found a number of gallon-size zipper bags packed with marijuana, seven ounces of cocaine, a firearm and cash stashed inside a stopped 2001 Dodge pickup truck and a 1991 Chevrolet Suburban. Hunt said state agents, Aiken Public Safety officers and to Sheriff's Office deputies have been targeting the Hampton Avenue area near Pinecrest Avenue to curb what has been an ongoing crime problem. He said the patrols Tuesday night were a part of that effort. "This was the result of good police work," he said. Both vehicles involved have been seized. All four suspects are being held at the Aiken County Detention Center. Contact Karen Daily at kdaily@aikenstandard.com.