ROCK HILL, SC (FOX 46 WJZY) - About a dozen federal agents from the FBI and the DEA swarmed a Rock Hill neighborhood Wednesday. Six people were arrested following raids in the Charlotte and Rock Hill areas, and a home in Rock Hill was declared unsafe for living after dangerous chemicals used to make drugs were found.
There were also men in HAZMAT suits searching outside the home on Stephanie Ln. Hours after the raid, a warning sign was posted on the door letting neighbors know about the dangerous drug lab found there.
“It could happen in your backyard just because you think you live in a safe place, it doesn't really matter,” said Becky Palmer. She has grandchildren that live in the neighborhood.
The HAZMAT suits and gas masks were a scary sight for neighbors in the Country Club Estates area. They live next to a country club, and Oakdale Elementary School is just around the corner.
“I’m more than a little surprised because this is such a family friendly neighborhood,” Karen Davis Fair said. “A lot of children live in this neighborhood so you're never glad to hear anything going on about drugs and drug raids."
“This is a peaceful neighborhood you just don't have this kind of action on a day to day basis,” said Palmer.
Neighbors told FOX 46 they were stunned to see the nearly dozen federal agents at the house they thought no one even lived in.
“I was a little shocked about it being in this neighborhood. From what I understand from the residents in this neighborhood that house has been empty, so no one really knew that someone had moved in," Palmer said.
Now, Palmer says she has to explain to her grandchildren, ages five and eight, that the feds were looking for drugs. She also says she’s worried about their safety.
“I want my kids to be able to play in the backyard and front yard and ride, I don't exactly know what they found in the house but if it involved the FBI and the DEA it couldn't have been good,” she told FOX 46.
The six suspects who were arrested in the raid saw a federal judge Wednesday afternoon. One of the suspects was even tearing up in the courtroom.
FOX 46 cameras caught the five men and one woman leaving the federal courthouse before they were transported back to South Carolina.
All six are facing federal drug charges of possession with intent to distribute and money laundering that dates back to November 2016. The maximum jail time for money laundering is 20 years.
All but one of the suspects charged will face a minimum jail time of 10 years for the drug charges. Officials say that one suspect faces a minimum of five years because investigators say they had less drugs than the others.
The drugs found included cocaine, crack, meth, oxycodone and marijuana.
In addition to the prison sentences, the suspects could face fines ranging anywhere from six figures to several million dollars.
All six are scheduled to be back in court next Monday morning.