North Charleston drug sweep nets three suspects

North Charleston police arrest Dexter Burgess during Operation Macon It Right on Thursday morning, Sept. 17, 2009 in the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood in North Charleston.

A deafening boom shook the Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood in North Charleston Thursday morning as heavily-armed SWAT officers rushed into the home of an accused drug dealer.

When the smoke from the flash bang grenade cleared, police had arrested three men in simultaneous raids at five nearby homes. North Charleston Police Chief Jon Zumalt said the arrest of street-level dealers is the first step to rid the crime-ridden neighborhood of drugs and violence.

"We're going to take back this neighborhood. We've been in here in the past. We eradicated the drug dealers and they came right back. That's not going to happen this time," Zumalt said. "If I was a military commander, this would be like establishing a beachhead. We're going to take Chicora. We're going to eradicate the drug dealing in this neighborhood."

"Operation Macon It Right," which got its name from the neighborhood's slang name, Macon, had a military feel from the beginning as more than 40 officers from North Charleston Police and the DEA carefully planned the raid in a pre-dawn meeting.

While some neighbors complained that their children were scared by the 7:30 a.m. boom that occurred just as they were heading off to school, officers said the raid went off without a hitch. The suspects, they said, were caught napping and taken in without injury.

Police arrested Dexter Burgess, Herbert Dawson and Jacob Pringle. Burgess is charged with two counts of distributing crack cocaine and two counts of possession with intent to distribute near a school. Dawson is charged with distribution of crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute near a school. Pringle is charged with distribution of crack cocaine and possession with intent to distribute near a school.

Pringle also faces charges of possession of a firearm and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine after officers say they found a handgun and crack inside his home at the time of his arrest.

Read more details in Friday's editions of The Post and Courier.