Johnny Ray Stroud
Johnny Ray Stroud
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Abbeville County deputies arrested an Iva man in what officials are calling one of the biggest drug busts in the county’s history.

Johnny Ray Stroud, 41, of 28 Stroud Lane, was charged with two counts of trafficking, possession with intent to distribute amphetamine, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of a controlled substance in connection with the incident.

Both trafficking counts are felonies that carry up to 30 years in prison apiece.

Deputies took the suspect into custody Friday after finding more than four pounds of marijuana, nearly two pounds of crystal “ice” methamphetamine, dozens of firearms and other items in his home. Records show an Abbeville County magistrate judge set his bond at $74,000 last week and he posted bail Monday.

Officers estimated the drugs they recovered during the search and seizure had an approximate street value of more than $100,000, while the guns were valued at least $10,000. The raid took place Thursday. Abbeville County Sheriff Ray Watson said it is the largest meth seizure in the county’s history and noted officers have been seeing an increased presence of crystal meth of late.

"I'm proud of the guys," Watson said. "They have been working tough assignment the past two weeks. But I'm just proud with how they're working together -- both the city and the county. It's making a difference in Abbeville County."

The Sheriff's Office has made arrests in multiple investigations this month, including a shooting near Lake Secession during the weekend, the discovery of an apparent marijuana field earlier this month, and last week's bust. Watson noted officers also made a drug arrest at the residence where the shooting took place, after discovering multiple grams of meth there.

"They've been working hard," Watson said. "When I was running for sheriff, one of my supporters told me about a dirt road going toward the bridge at Lake Secession. They weren't able to specify the road, but they said they had a lot of drug activity and asked me if I would do something with it. We've determined that this is probably the road."

According to an Abbeville County Sheriff’s Office incident report, deputies went to the suspect's home to question him about stolen property. While there, officers noticed a container of suspected marijuana sitting on a shelf in an outhouse. Officers also noticed a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the area and grew suspicious of drug activity. Deputies began questioning the suspect about possible drugs on the premises and he confessed to storing narcotics at his home as well as at a property next door.

Officers got search warrants and found 4.22 pounds of marijuana, 1.95 pounds of meth, 15 rifles, 18 handguns, 65 prescription pills, as well as drug paraphernalia, according to reports. Deputies also found $700 on the suspect.