Duplin sheriff seizes kilo of cocaine
Published in News on June 26, 2008 1:45 PM
KENANSVILLE -- The arrest of three illegal aliens and the seizure of a kilo of powdered cocaine, a separate drug arrest involving counterfeit money and an incident of a break-in suspect firing a shotgun in a motor-vehicle chase with the homeowner were announced Wednesday by Duplin County Sheriff Blake Wallace.
Wallace also said the sheriff's detective division had solved more than a dozen break-ins and thefts, including two at churches, and recovered $5,000 worth of stolen goods.
The kilo of cocaine, with a street value of $80,000, was seized after the arrest of a LaGrange man and two Mount Olive residents on May 31 in Wallace.
Charged were Timoteo Salamanca Espinoza, 38, 227 Legion Rd., LaGrange; Emilio Salamanca Rodriquez, 25, 111 White Flash Road, Mount Olive; and Misael Garcia, 33, also of 111 White Flash Road, Mount Olive. They were charged with three counts each of trafficking in cocaine, conspiring to traffic in cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were jailed under bonds of $1.250 million at the Duplin County Jail .
Wallace said he would ask that the cases be tried in federal court, where punishment is usually harsher than in state courts. The arrests came after a traffic stop on highway U.S. 117 by a deputy and drug dog.
A small amount of cocaine, two handguns, three $20 counterfeit bills and fake N.C. Department of Motor Vehicles identification cards were seized in the arrest of a Duplin County man on June 11. Salvador Pineda Sanchez, 35, was taken into custody at his residence at 105 Treatment St. in Magnolia. He was charged with two counts of trafficking in cocaine, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance, forgery of an instrument ($20 bills) and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was jailed under a $1.5 million bond.
Wallace said deputies found 40 grams of cocaine with a street value of $5,000 in a picnic cooler partially buried in the backyard, three counterfeit $20 bills, a loaded .38 revolver and a loaded 9mm semi-automatic handgun. The U.S. Secret Service was notified about the bogus bills.
Wallace praised officers of the Duplin Interstate Criminal Enforcement team and other deputies "for their work in getting these folks off the streets."
Other charges announced were against Liston Turner, 38, and John Elton Highsmith, 48, both of Wallace. Each was charged with breaking and entering, larceny after breaking and entering and possession of stolen goods. Turner was also cited for resisting a public officer and possession of drug paraphernalia. Turner was placed under a $7,500 bond and Highsmith's bond was set at $10,000.
A variety of goods stolen in the break-ins, including jewelry electronics items, weed trimmers and air conditioners, were recovered.
Also, Wallace said Eric Jevone Bennett, 29, of Clinton, was being sought in connection with Wallace break-in June 18 in which the fleeing suspect fired a shotgun at a homeowner. A $1,000 reward is being offered by the sheriff's office for information leading to an arrest. He said anyone with any information is asked to call the Duplin Sheriff's Office at (910) 296-2150, the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office or Fayetteville Police.
By Nelson Bland
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