Police vow to go after narcotics
A purse snatching led Columbia Police Department investigators to make five drug arrests, including two felony arrests, on May 23.
Sherri Echols, 32, and Terryon Thomas, 21, both of Columbia, were each charged with five counts of felony possession of a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm within 1,500 feet of a school and within 1,500 feet of a church. Echols was being held on $455,000 bond in the Marion County Jail as of deadline Tuesday, and Thomas was being held on $100,000 bond. Thomas is also charged with contempt of court and had a previous warrant for an armed carjacking.
The investigation began with a grand larceny case where Thomas allegedly stole a purse with about $4,600 inside May 21, according to investigators.
Detective Kyle Pickett said investigators received actionable intelligence that Thomas was at the rental home of Echols, who is also known as “Red-Top,” and that there was a considerable amount of narcotics at the 1005 East St. residence. After warrants were signed for Thomas and Echols, the CPD Emergency Unit executed a search that led to the five arrests. Larry Moffett, 19, of Columbia was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Kiyairra Ingram, 19, of Columbia and Alexis Abram, 38, of Columbia were both charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana. All three have been released.
Police seized 260 Xanax, 24 grams of methamphetamine, 3 grams of heroine, 3 1/2 ounces of marijuana, 10 Adderall, THC oil, three Ecstasy pills and a few unknown pills. Three firearms were also seized, along with “Vice Lords” gang T-shirts.
“I’m really appreciative of the hard work these police officers put in to making these arrests (May 23) and getting these drugs off of our streets,” Police Chief Michael Kelly said during a press conference Friday afternoon.
Pickett read a prepared statement during the press conference, adding that the department wants citizens to know it is aware and investigates all reports of suspected criminal activity.
“Everything that is reported is used in some way, shape, form or fashion to aid us in serving and protecting the community. … The Columbia Police Department would also like to send a message to all those individuals who choose to participate in criminal activity within our city: ‘Start looking over your shoulder. If you continue to engage in illegal and criminal activity inside the city limits of Columbia, it’s only a matter of time before we visit your home,’” he said.
Kelly added it’s the department’s mission to continue taking narcotics off the streets of Columbia.
“We’re going to make this poison hard to get inside of our city limits,” he said. “It’s destroying lives; it’s destroying families, and we certainly are going to wage war against those who will come inside of our city and spread this poison to our children.”
Pictured Above: Columbia Police Chief Michael Kelly speaks at a press conference Friday afternoon about a drug bust. An investigation into a May 21 purse snatching led to police getting a warrant for an East Street home where drugs, guns and gang materials were found. | Photo by Joshua Campbell