BEAUFORT, CARTERET COUNTY - Operation Pill Crusher in Carteret County has netted 62 arrests since it's start in May.
The high amount of arrests has inmate population up above normal levels in the county jail. The jail is set up with 116 beds, but currently 162 inmates are housed there. There are also 29 other inmates being held in other county jails.
"Certainly we can house more than 116 within the confines of the facility, but when we get to a certain point, we look to house inmates in other facilities," said Carteret County Sheriff Asa Buck. "[It's] Just to keep the population at a manageable point."
Operation Pill Crusher is a push to arrest people who sell prescription drugs illegally. The sheriff's office is staggering their arrests to allow some inmates to be processed and alleviate jail crowding. Some of the people arrested have bonds that aren't out of reach and a high bond doesn't necessarily mean a defendant will be unable to pay out, according to the sheriff.
"Well, drug dealers are drug dealers," said Buck. "Sometimes people get high bonds and they are engaged in unscrupulous activity. They make money doing that type of thing."
Repeat offenders will often get a higher bond than someone who is making a first appearance.
"Public safety is a concern," said Buck. "If you have someone that is a continual drug dealer and they keep coming back to jail, obviously their bond is going to be higher when they come back versus a first time offender."
Inmates are currently being held in Pamlico, Lenoir, Craven and Wake County jails. Though, some of those inmates were transferred to those jails for reasons other than over crowding, such as varying medical needs or to be separated from other inmates.
The arrests aren't over. According to the sheriff, Operation Pill Crusher is about halfway complete.