One of the most notorious crack dealers in Limestone County is now behind bars, but not before investigators went in with a military vehicle to get him.
The pre-dawn raid went down in Tanner Tuesday morning. Investigators had no idea what they would be facing, so they used an armored vehicle as they raided Paul Hines' home.
WAAY 31 got a closer look at the cache of drugs and weapons they found inside, which included meth, crack cocaine, and prescription medications inside hidden compartments designed to look like everyday household items.
“I wouldn’t expect it to be that big here," said Dudley Smithson.
The word “big” is an understatement when it comes to the early-morning drug raid that happened in Tanner on Tuesday.
“It’s one of the bigger crack cocaine busts that we’ve had in recent times," Limestone County investigator, Jamie King said.
Investigators faced many obstacles on the raid, including a tall security gate around Hines' property.
“Any time you have a fence that goes up around a property like that, in a quick manner, and complaints of drug activity there, it’s kind of a red flag," King said.
They also knew Hines had an extensive surveillance system they say he used to monitor through multiple TVs inside his home.
“It makes the surveillance more difficult, the approach to the residence more difficult, and, plus, it’s a safety hazard to us, because he could see us coming," King said.
For two months, investigators tell WAAY 31 they planned for the perfect time to bust the man they call one of the most well-known crack dealers in the county.
They used an armored vehicle, thinking they’d have to bust through the heavy-duty gate that’s usually locked, and they went in the wee hours of the morning, hoping he’d be in bed and not watching them from his living room.
“About seven or eight cameras with a pretty long-range view of anything approaching the residence," King said.
Luckily, the gate was open and investigators say Hines was sound asleep when they arrived.
K-9 officer, Kilo, was all smiles hours after the raid. Investigators say she helped find two ounces of cocaine hidden in what appeared to be a can of corn, and sniffed out meth and pills in what looked like a full bottle of water.
Investigators also say they recovered about $14,000 and two guns.
“We were able to successfully get another drug dealer off the streets with this bust," King said. "He’s one of the more substantial crack dealers in the community—especially in Tanner—and I’m sure the community will see the effects of this one.”
A community is already grateful for the high-stakes raid.
“It was a good job done by the sheriff’s office and they need to get all these drugs off the street," Dudley Smithson said.
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