10/21/09 — Fremont, Pikeville to target drugs on I-795

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Fremont, Pikeville to target drugs on I-795

By Laura Collins
Published in News on October 21, 2009 1:46 PM

In an effort to combat drug trafficking in northern Wayne County, area police departments are considering forming a new drug interdiction team.

Fremont police Chief R.K. Rawlings and another member of the Fremont Police Department, along with members of the Pikeville Police Department attended a three-day drug interdiction training recently at Johnston Community College.

Rawlings said he would like to focus the team toward the interstate.

"We have a new I-795 out there, and we're in the process of trying to put together a drug interdiction team," Rawlings said. "I'd like to work once or twice a week out on the interstate and catch transportation of drugs and money on the interstate."

Rawlings said people are transporting drugs or drug money most likely from Florida to New York, New Jersey and Virginia. I-795 connects to I-95, which is used as a main vein for drug trafficking, Rawlings said. Recently, the drug interdiction has been stepped up on I-95, which is leading some traffickers to look for different routes.

"They're doing so much interdiction on 95 that it gets them off 95, so they can either go 40 or 795," he said. "If you start doing a lot of interdiction on 95, they're going to look for other roads."

Pikeville police Chief Pascal Tucker agreed that there could be a need for increased enforcement on I-795.

"Just from talking to different law enforcement agencies, they're saying that I-795 is big for drug traffic," he said. "We want to do our part to combat that."

Before the team can be formed, however, both the Fremont and Pikeville town boards would have to approve the initiative. Rawlings said he is confident that once the initiative gets up and running, it would end up paying for itself through drug money seizures.

"I don't think we would need additional funding, it would just take some work to get a policy together," Rawlings said. "But it would pay for itself and we would only work the interstate a couple days a week."

Rawlings said he is currently looking at other cities that have implemented drug interdiction teams, including Archdale, which seized about $300,000 of drug money in a little over a year.

"It would be fantastic to have those kinds of results," Rawlings said. "With drug money, we could buy patrol cars, remodel the police department, all while putting drug dealers behind bars."