Crime & Public Safety

Report: Cops found cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and firearm in weekend busts in Bluffton

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Fentanyl has become a true health threat to law enforcement and first responders protecting the communities we live and work in.

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office deputies recovered cocaine, heroin, marijuana, fentanyl and a firearm during two separate incidents in Bluffton over the weekend, according to a report by the Sheriff’s Office.

They obtained the cocaine, marijuana and a loaded firearm in a traffic stop on Saturday morning on Fording Island Road in Bluffton, and the heroin and fentanyl after responding to a report of suspicious activity in the Bluffton Walmart parking lot around 7 p.m. on Sunday.

The incidents resulted in two arrests, according to the report.

Here’s a breakdown of the incidents:

Saturday morning traffic stop

Around 2:20 a.m. on Saturday, a Sheriff’s Office deputy pulled over a Toyota Avalon driven by 25-year-old Tyler Wimbush on Fording Island Road in Bluffton. Wimbush allegedly gave a false name to the deputy when he was pulled over, according to the report.

During the traffic stop, a K-9 dog named Niko sniffed the car for drugs and alerted the deputy to crack cocaine and cocaine, the report said.

When deputies searched the car, they found a loaded handgun underneath the driver’s seat. Wimbush also had a small amount of marijuana on him, according to the report.

He was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, unlawful carrying of a handgun, providing false information to law enforcement and simple possession of marijuana, the report said.

Wimbush was transported to the Beaufort County Detention Center and incarcerated.

He had a bond hearing later Saturday morning and was released after signing a written promise to show up for court and not to engage in any illegal activity while he was out on his own recognizance, according to the report.

Sunday evening Walmart incident

Around 7 p.m. on Sunday, Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report of suspicious activity in the parking lot of the Bluffton Walmart.

Deputies observed a Toyota Camry with several people in it parked in an accessible parking space without the appropriate handicap parking signage, the report said.

File_003
File photo of the Bluffton Walmart from 2017. Madison Hogan mhogan@islandpacket.com

Inside the car, deputies found a syringe with what appeared to be heroin in it and a plastic bag with a white, powdered substance that appeared to be fentanyl in 36-year-old Nathan Smyth’s pants pockets, according to the report.

The syringe was field tested and confirmed to contain heroin, and the white substance was sent to the Sheriff’s Office forensic services lab to be tested, the report said.

Smyth was arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin and transported to the Beaufort County Detention Center. He may face additional charges if the white substance is confirmed to be fentanyl, the report said.

As of Monday afternoon, Smyth remained incarcerated on a $10,000 bond.

More than a half-million people died from opioids between 2000 and 2015. Today, opioid deaths are considered an epidemic. To understand the struggle of a drug addiction, we take a closer look at what happens to the body.

Katherine Kokal moved to South Carolina in 2018 after graduating from the University of Missouri and loves everything about the Lowcountry that isn’t a Palmetto Bug. She has won South Carolina Press Association awards for in-depth and government beat reporting. On the weekends, you can find Kati doing yoga and hiking Pinckney Island.


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