10/21/07 — Suspect caught from Mount Olive drug raid

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Suspect caught from Mount Olive drug raid

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 21, 2007 2:03 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- A "major player" in the Wayne County drug trade was taken into custody Friday afternoon, Mount Olive police Chief Ralph Schroeder said.

Travis Lemont Barksdale, 28, was arrested at a residence on Franklin Street close to two weeks after town, state and federal officials joined together for Operation Clean Streets, a drug raid that targeted Barksdale and several others for the alleged possession, manufacture and sale of crack and cocaine.

Barksdale was charged with trafficking in drugs, conspiring to sell and deliver drugs, manufacturing drugs and maintaining a dwelling for the manufacture, sale and delivery of drugs and is currently being held in Wayne County Jail under a $1.5 million bond.

"I'm glad that we've got him," Schroeder said. "It was good work all the way around."

Barksdale had eluded officers Oct. 7, Schroeder added, when members of the Wayne and Duplin County sheriffs' offices, Goldsboro and Smithfield police departments, DEA and ATF served six warrants and seized more than $26,000 in property, money, vehicles and firearms associated with the drug trade.

The sting was the result of a four-month investigation that began when a "patrol corporal worked information out of an informant."

The implications were that frequent drug deals, gun sales and dog fights were occurring along Center Street -- and that Barksdale was involved.

Among the most "notorious" of those arrested Oct. 7 were Delete LeCharles Vann, 31; Rahean Lamar Robinson, 20; Rickey Terrell Thomas Ward, 24; Alexander Solshinisky Suncin, 21; and Gladys Strickland, 58.

Schroeder believes Friday's arrest was another major victory in the fight against drugs in Mount Olive -- that those brought in during Operation Clean Streets were likely linked to recent break-ins and homicides around town.

But he admits there is still work to be done.

"I feel like this closes a chapter in this investigation," he said. "But we're already starting some others."