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Search continues at Stafford drug raid site

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Stafford County authorities on Thursday continued their digging operation in White Oak, still refusing to say what or who they are looking for.

The Sheriff’s Office has been searching an area off Belle Plains Road near Potomac Creek since Saturday.

Heavy equipment was brought in after police executed a search warrant at 881 Belle Plains Road that resulted in the arrest of 58-year-old Dennis Paul Benzie on multiple drug-related charges.

Police activity there has spawned rumors for days among neighbors in the rural section of the county.

Several sources have said the police received information regarding a body or bodies buried in the area, but Sheriff’s Office officials have revealed little about the nature of the search.

Police would only say that no bodies had been found as of Thursday.

A search warrant for a property on the road was filed in Stafford Circuit Court Wednesday, but it was sealed under court order, meaning its contents are not available for public viewing.

“We understand that the public is interested in what’s going on,” Sheriff Charles Jett said. “And when the time comes that we can comment without compromising the investigation, we will.”

Jett stressed that there is no threat to the residents in the Belle Plains area.

Jett said police are “meticulously” searching a large area of land and he wasn’t sure how long the search operation would continue.

Benzie was arrested on seven counts of distributing methamphetamines for alleged incidents that occurred between June 14, 2010 and March 25, 2011.

He was also charged with five new offenses following Saturday’s raid, including possession of methamphetamines, possessing a firearm as a felon and possession of a firearm while in possession of illegal drugs.

Police began searching and digging based on information received during the raid. Authorities have maintained a noticeable presence in the area ever since.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404


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