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Wednesday, 04 December 2013 14:30

UPDATED: Undercover bust targets dealers in every corner of the county

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fr drugroundupAn undercover investigation in Haywood County targeting alleged drug dealers culminated in a sweeping roundup last month, netting 31 suspects with 114 charges in all.

 

“Today we see the results of many months of hard work by officers across this county striving toward one common goal: to rid our communities and our county of illegal drugs and those who choose to deal drugs,” Haywood Sheriff Greg Christopher announced in a press conference the day the bust went down.

The drug bust didn’t target one big ring of drug dealers. But many ran in the same circles, and were what officers called “well-known” drug dealers.

“Our goal was to go after the people actually dealing drugs,” said Waynesville Police Chief Bill Hollingsed.

“It is a whole lot more efficient,” Christopher added.

The large number of suspects arrested will take a huge bite out of the county’s drug supply chain, and hopefully make it harder for drug users to get drugs, Christopher said.

Law enforcement also hope the bust will have a chilling effect on the illicit drug trade in the county.

“Let this be a message to drug dealers in Haywood County. You are not welcome here,” Christopher said. “We intend to make it so difficult for drug dealers to do business in Haywood County they will either stop or be forced to go elsewhere.”

The charges read like a supermarket shopping list of illegal drugs, from marijuana to crack cocaine. But meth and prescription narcotics were the most commonly trafficked drugs, according to the charges. 

The undercover investigation took seven months. In drug roundups like this, timing is critical in the home stretch.

Arrests need to happen in rapid succession — nearly simultaneously — to keep word from spreading among suspects that the cops are coming.

Once drug agents have amassed evidence to bring charges, the bust is planned for the early morning hours when suspects are mostly likely to be home and in bed instead of out and about.

A team of 30 cops and deputies carried out the actual roundup, but the rank-and-file officers didn’t know something was afoot until the afternoon beforehand, and even then they were simply told to report at 4 a.m. the next morning.

That’s when were they briefed on Operation Dry Erase, divided into half a dozen teams and given their hit lists of suspects to round up before fanning out across the county. 

Shortly after dawn, the first batch of handcuffed suspects started rolling in. To handle the volume, a booking line was set up in the sally port of the jail. The suspects shuffled along from one table to the next, stopping to have their rights read, to get frisked, to get mug shots and fingerprints made, and so on.

Not everyone was home when the police went knocking in the early morning hours. For those not picked up in the initial round-up, officers continued searching.

Some trickled in of their own accord in the days that followed, hearing about the warrant for their arrest and deciding to turn themselves in. Some were picked up by officers who kept tabs on the places the suspects were known to frequent. 

As of press time Tuesday (Dec. 3), 28 of the total 31 suspects targeted in the roundup had been arrested. The suspects are almost all men and range in age from 17 to 64.

Maggie Police Chief Scott Sutton said that shows there is no one demographic that applies to dealers.

“It goes everywhere,” Sutton said.

 

Pulling together

At a press conference announcing the results of the bust, the police chiefs of Waynesville, Canton and Maggie Valley stood shoulder to shoulder with the Haywood sheriff and his chief deputy.

“It is important to note the different uniforms and patches here,” Hollingsed said. “Drug dealers don’t distinguish between jurisdictions. It affects all of us the same so it is important to see us working together as a partnership to rid our county of drugs.”

To drive home the team effort behind the drug op, officers carrying out the early morning roundup were intentionally paired with officers from other agencies.

“It wasn’t Waynesville going after Waynesville’s people, or Canton going after Canton’s people,” said Deputy Heidi Warren, who serves as a public information officer for the sheriff’s office. “It was interagency, even in the roundup process.”

The law enforcement leaders made such a point of emphasizing their cooperation with each other, it begs the question: Had they been territorial in the past? 

While that’s not really the case — turf battles aren’t much of an issue with the police departments and the sheriff’s office in Haywood — they simply hadn’t been as united as they could have been. The vital link in cooperation is usually the sheriff’s office, since it’s the law enforcement arm that spans the whole county.

Christopher was named sheriff less than a year ago after the former sheriff retired mid-post. When vying for the appointment, Christopher pledged to increase collaboration and teamwork with other agencies.

To that end, he tapped a top ranking officer at the Waynesville Police Department to serve as chief deputy at the sheriff’s office, bringing the two departments closer.

Christopher also pledged to be more aggressive and proactive in fighting drugs, making it his top priority and dedicating more officers to it. 

“By combining our resources we have been able to generate quality work and strong cases aimed at making our communities safer,” Christopher said.

 

LIST OF APPREHENDED SUSPECTS DRUG ROUNDUP 11-19-2013 (updated 11-25)

 

Scott Jackson Allison

DOB: 07-02-1962

Waynesville, NC 28786

Sell marijuana

Deliver marijuana

Conspire to sell Sch. VI CS

 

Carroll Wayne Messer Jr.

DOB: 12-25-1972

Clyde, NC 28721

Sell/deliver Sch. II CS

Conspiracy to sell/deliver Sch. II CS

PWIMSD Sch. II CS

 

Adrian Lynette Parker

DOB: 12-31-1986

Waynesville, NC 28786

Sell or deliver counterfeit CS

PWISD counterfeit CS

Sell methamphetamine

Conspire sell methamphetamine

PWISD methamphetamine

 

Joseph William Inman

DOB: 08-08-1982

Waynesville, NC 28786

PWIMSD Sch. II CS

Sell/deliver Sch. II CS

Conspire sell/deliver Sch. II CS

 

Dustin Ray Conard

DOB: 10-24-1993

Sell methamphetamine x 3

PWIMSD methamphetamine x 3

Conspire sell methamphetamine

 

Jessy Glenn Stines

DOB: 07-31-1991

Waynesville, NC 28786

Sell Sch. II CS

Conspiracy sell Sch. II CS

PWIMSD Sch. II CS

 

Jennifer Elaine Meadows

DOB: 07-01-1984

Canton, NC 28716

Sell/deliver Sch. II CS x 2

PWIMSD Sch. II CS

 

Michael Anthony Sorbello

DOB: 11-28-1964

Waynesville, NC 28786

Sell Sch. II CS x 2

PWISD Sch. II CS x 2

Trafficking opium or heroin x 3

Conspire sell marijuana

 

Malik Jordan Coleman

DOB: 04-06-1996

Canton, NC 28716

PWIMSD marijuana x 2

Sell/deliver Sch. VI CS x 2

Conspire sell/deliver Sch. VI CS

 

Joshua William Chapman

DOB: 07-25-1988

Waynesville, NC 28786

Trafficking opium or heroin x 3

Sell/deliver Sch. II CS

PWIMSD Sch. I CS

 

Michael Paul Meushaw

DOB: 04-01-1985

Waynesville, NC 28786

Sell/deliver Sch. II CS

PWIMSD Sch. II CS

Conspire sell/deliver Sch. II CS

 

Divette Marie Fuhrman

DOB: 09-21-1963

Canton, NC 28716

PWIMSD Sch. II CS x 3

 

Dakota Lewis Trantham

DOB: 11-16-1988

Canton, NC 28716

PWIMSD Sch. II CS x 2

Sell/deliver Sch. II CS x 2

Conspire sell/deliver Sch. II CS x 2

 

Justin Bryant Banks

DOB: 07-19-1988

Asheville, NC 28805

Sell methamphetamine x 2

PWISD methamphetamine x 2

 

Brittany Nicole Connor

DOB: 11-14-1995

Clyde, NC 28721

Sell methamphetamine

Conspire sell methamphetamine

PWIMSD methamphetamine

 

Calvin Leroy Corley

DOB: 10-04-1949

Canton, NC 28716

Sell/deliver marijuana

PWISD marijuana

Maintain vehicle/dwelling/place CS

 

Garrett Wayne Fox

DOB: 05-16-1982

Leicester, NC 28748

Trafficking opium or heroin x 5

 

James Kevin Jones

DOB: 11-16-1963

Candler, NC 28715

Sell or deliver counterfeit CS x 2

 

Richard James King

DOB: 01-21-1969

Clyde, NC 28721

PWIMSD Sch. II CS

PWIMSD methamphetamine

Maintain vehicle/dwelling/place CS

(m) Possess drug paraphernalia

(m) Possess marijuana up to ½ oz.

 

Edward Lee Smith

DOB: 06-19-1984

Waynesville, NC 28786

PWIMSD Sch. II CS

Sell/deliver Sch. II CS

 

Martin Allen Ryan Gibson

DOB: 01-05-1991

Canton, NC 28716

Sell Sch. II CS

Conspiracy - sell Sch. II CS

PWIMSD Sch. II CS

 

Anthony Conley Ellerbee

DOB: 04-29-1988

Canton, NC 28716

Sell or deliver counterfeit CS

PWISD counterfeit CS

 

Isaiah Blue Autrey

DOB: 01-15-1994

Canton, NC 28716

Conspiracy sell/deliver Sch. VI CS

Sell/deliver Sch. VI CS

PWIMSD Marijuana

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