According to NBC Charlotte, a six-month-long investigation by the York County Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Enforcement Unit in South Carolina ended with the arrest of a Rock Hill barber for allegedly selling counterfeit fentanyl pills out of his shop. A tip from a member of the public kicked off the investigation into Jimmy Gaston, owner of Gaston’s Barber & Style.
WCOV-TV said once police started to watch the business, they noticed people coming and going quickly without getting any haircuts. When law enforcement agents searched the business, they found what they suspect are 22 counterfeit pain pills made with fentanyl. Residents expressed sadness that Gaston would sell those pills, as well as frustration that community efforts to improve the neighborhood have not succeeded. Rock Hill resident Melvin Poole said, “We’ve been working for the last few years to try to improve this area. We got a clinic that came up down the street and we’ve got some other things that are coming, and it’s really disheartening to find out that he’s selling drugs just four doors down from me.” Gaston has a total of six charges filed against him: three counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and three counts of dealing drugs near a school or park.
This is not Rock Hill’s first fentanyl story of 2018. In June, law enforcement searched multiple properties in Rock Hill, arrested 11 people, and seized two pill presses. A short time later, a citizen found bags containing nearly 7,000 counterfeit fentanyl pills abandoned on a street corner. This individual reported the find to the police before anyone was hurt. South Carolina is one of 45 states in the U.S. in which PSM has documented counterfeit fentanyl pill incidents. It is also one of 29 states in which fake fentanyl pills have killed. To learn more about counterfeit incidents in South Carolina, please read PSM’s 2018 Infosheet.