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"Operation Grinder" cracks down on stores in Pitt County selling illegal items

By Amanda Brannon
Published On: Nov 20 2013 05:51:09 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 20 2013 05:53:00 PM CST
GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY -

North Carolina’s Alcohol Law Enforcement Division (ALE) and local agencies in Pitt County served warrants on 11 convenience and tobacco stores illegally selling controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.

Authorities searched for legal vitamin drinks, which are illegally used to cleanse your body and fake out a drug test. Teams also confiscated drug paraphernalia, including glass tubes typically seen with a small fake rose inside, counterfeit items and anything illegal that has to do with the sale of alcohol or tobacco.

Pitt County Sheriff’s Office Detective Nikki Dolenti gave NewsChannel 12 an example of how the businesses are allegedly selling controlled substances illegally.

"Some of it is they're buying probably stolen cigarettes off the street and they send it up north and sell it for a higher profit," Dolenti said.

Hundreds of items were taken from each store and 12 people were arrested. Each person faces misdemeanor and felony charges including the illegal sale of controlled substances.