Six men charged for drugs
By Steve Herring
Published in News on July 1, 2008 1:47 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Six people were arrested by Mount Olive Police in a drug round-up Monday, including a fugitive from a past drug round-up who absconded last October, Police Chief Ralph Schroeder said.
Outstanding warrants are on file for three other suspects in Monday's operation, including one who is out of state, according to Schroeder.
The charges came after a six-month undercover campaign by police, the second such drug round-up since Schroeder was named chief of police last August.
In all, 27 drug charges were levied against the nine suspects, described as "street-level drug dealers," according to police Lt. Tommy Brown, who headed up the operation.
Those charged with controlled substance violations, all of which are felonies, were as follows:
n Michael Hunter Winstead, 30, 205 W. Main St., Mount Olive, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and deliver; sale and delivery of marijuana. He was placed under a $3,000 bond at the Wayne County Jail.
n Derrick "Faness" Couch Jr., 22, 207 Wooten St., Apt. 301, Mount Olive, possession of marijuana with intent to sell and deliver; two counts of conspiracy to sell and deliver marijuana; obtaining a controlled substance (marijuana) by fraud. He was jailed under a $15,000 bond at the Wayne County Jail.
n Nedra Denise Barksdale, 37, whose address was listed as "Streets of Mount Olive," sale and delivery of cocaine; possession of cocaine with intent to sell and deliver. Her bond was set at $5,000. Ms. Barksdale was arrested at the Wayne County Jail where she was incarcerated on other charges, Schroeder said.
n Robert Earl Spencer, 28, 210 Apt. H., North Hereford Dr., Dudley, sale and delivery of cocaine; conspiracy to sell and deliver cocaine; possession of cocaine with intent to sell and deliver.
n Charles Lee Holmes, 30, 617 N. Chestnut St., Mount Olive, three counts of conspiracy to sell and deliver marijuana and cocaine; possession of marijuana with intent to sell and deliver; sale and delivery of marijuana; possession of cocaine with intent to sell and deliver; sale and delivery of cocaine. Bond was placed at $20,000. Holmes was arrested at the Columbus County Jail, where he was being held on drug charges in that county, Schroeder said.
n Robert Thomas Edwards, 19, 1004 S. Church St., Mount Olive, two counts of conspiracy to sell and deliver marijuana and cocaine. His bond was set at $25,000.
Edwards, who had been a fugitive from local police since last October, walked into the police station Monday morning while suspects were being booked and turned himself in, Schroeder said.
Schroeder said it was ironic and "just a coincidence" that Edwards turned himself in for the October 2007 charge since he had not been charged in Monday's round-up.
Edwards had been in Georgia until recently, according to police.
Fifteen of the police department's 16 officers took part in the round-up that began about 8 a.m., Schroeder said.
"Most of the suspects were picked up at their residences, but one was taken into custody at his job at a local supermarket," Schroeder said.
Brown said several "small amounts" of drugs, ranging in quantities from .2 grams to half an ounce, were seized in the undercover operation.
Schroeder told the News-Argus, "We have a problem with drugs in Mount Olive just like any other town, and if we don't continue to work on it, it will just get worse. We have to constantly work on the drug problem, but we're getting some drugs off the streets."
While he declined to name neighborhoods, Schroeder said the drug traffic is worse in some areas of town than others. He said the drug problem in Mount Olive involves "mostly crack cocaine, marijuana and some prescription drugs."
Schroeder lauded Brown, Major Brian Rhodes, Detective C.J. Weaver and other officers who took part in the round-up.
"I appreciate everything that everybody is doing, including the citizens, to help us in our effort to combat drugs," Schroeder added.
Brown commented, "We got the drugs off the street and we got some bad guys off the street. So, that makes for a good day's work."
Town Manager Charles Brown, who came into the police station as suspects were being booked, praised police for their efforts.
"I would like to compliment the whole police department on what they do," Brown said. "And Schroeder is doing an excellent job; he is a hard-working chief."
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