BLADEN COUNTY -- Six people spent the holiday weekend behind bars after a large drug bust in Bladen County Thursday night. Investigators found more than 20 pounds of cocaine on the suspects, which has a street value of more than $1 million. Bladen County Sheriff Steve Bunn said, "In my 30 years this is the biggest cocaine seizure Bladen County has been involved in. We're just tickled to death we got it off the street." The six men charged with bringing the cocaine into the area were arrested Thursday night in Bladen County, but investigators say they sold the drugs to people all over southeast North Carolina. Columbus County Sheriff Chris Batten said, "We're not sure about the MO about bringing the drugs in here, but we do know that the cocaine was distributed widely." Along with cocaine investigators from Bladen, Columbus and New Hanover County also seized numerous cars, four-wheelers and a tractor from the suspects, which will be sold by authorities to benefit the community. "Those funds, a percentage can be turned back over to the counties for extra purposes rather than budgetary items," Batten said. Batten says the huge bust is likely to reduce the amount of crime in the area because of the large amount of crime bred by drugs. It's also likely to save a number of lives. "We've hurt a lot of people on the street who were expecting to have these drugs out there and accessible to them over this Easter holiday weekend -- and we're just happy it's in our possession and not going to hurt any young people or ruin and lives this Easter weekend," Batten said. Batten says his detectives are also looking into whether the men were in the country illegally. Most of the suspects are in jail on more than $1 million bond.
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