Undercover drug investigation lands two in jail

Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt issued a stern warning for an area hotel to clean up its act after a search warrant sent two to jail on crack cocaine charges. "We have received numerous complaints about this business and it's become a nuisance to th,e community. I expect the owner to cooperate and help clean up his business and clientele. If he chooses not to, we will seek further legal action," said Hunt in a press release. During an undercover investigation Wednesday, an undercover operative was sold a quantity of crack cocaine by Tramaine Hart, police said. Hart was allegedly distributing the illegal substance from room 135 at the Royal Inn Hotel at 4638 Jefferson Davis Highway in Clearwater. According to the Sherriff's Office spokesperson Lt. Troy Elwell, the undercover investigation serves as one of the ways in which the agency is conducting ongoing efforts to alleviate the problem. He confirmed the Sherriff's Office responds to calls from the location on a regular basis. "We are doing everything we can to clean up the clientele and keep the citizens happy," said Elwell. After the drug transaction, the Aiken County Sheriff's Office obtained a search warrant. Upon execution of the warrant, 28-year-old Hart of 312 Mississippi Ave., Aiken, and 39-year-old Michael Buford of 1394 Shannon Drive, North Augusta, were located in the hotel room and arrested. Hart is charged with distribution of crack cocaine, distribution of crack cocaine within a half-mile of a school and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Buford is charged with possession of crack cocaine. In a separate incident on Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office responded to an armed robbery at the Royal Inn Hotel. The victim, a guest in room 133, was robbed at knifepoint by three unknown individuals. The victim's wrists were slashed when the attacker attempted to stab him in the chest with the knife. The victim's wallet was stolen and he was transported by EMS to Aiken Regional Medical Centers. The attackers fled on foot.