Indian Land teacher among two arrested in drug trafficking investigation in Lancaster County – WBTV

LANCASTER, S.C. (WBTV) – Two people were arrested following a drug trafficking investigation in Lancaster County, deputies said.

According to the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, several law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant at a home on Tirzah Church Road on Thursday morning, after previously conducting an undercover investigation.

Once at the property, agents located illegal drugs, digital scales and firearms inside the home.

The drugs included two bags believed to be fentanyl, which contained 1,821 pills and weighed 192 grams. Another bag containing a small amount of powder, which was also suspected to be fentanyl, and more than 1,300 grams of marijuana were also found.

Agents also found 14 long guns, seven handguns, firearm magazines and assorted ammunition.

Deputies arrested 29-year-old Tyler Wayne Rhodes and 28-year-old Elizabeth Carolina Delaney McDonald in connection with the case.

According to the Lancaster County School District, McDonald has been a teacher at Indian Land High School since 2020. She has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Bryan Vaughn with Lancaster County Schools says they will take the findings from law enforcement and start investigations at the district and state levels.

“The superintendent will make a recommendation about employment status,” Vaughn said. “The state board could take all the documents and do an emergency revocation.”

Vaughn says all teachers are fingerprinted and background checked before they’re hired, but they are not all drug tested.

“If we had specific knowledge that amounted to a reasonable suspicion at that point we could in our policy have someone tested, but there’s not just a standard pre-employment drug screen,” he said.

He says they’re hopeful that anyone with information about this situation will come forward.

According to the sheriff’s office, Rhodes and McDonald are charged with trafficking and possession with intent to distribute the drugs, along with charges for possession of firearms during commission of the drug trafficking offenses.

Both were denied bond by a judge on Friday.

“Several controlled purchases of drugs were made which gave us probable cause to search this property,” Sheriff Barry Faile said. “We found upwards of 2,000 pills we believe to be Fentanyl and almost three pounds of Marijuana. This represents a substantial seizure of narcotics which we are happy will not be used or distributed in our county or anywhere else.”

Two men were also at the home during the execution of the warrant, but were not arrested or charged.

Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or contact Midlands Crimestoppers.

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