A joint law enforcement crackdown in five counties, including Wayne, resulted in drug and firearm arrests.
U.S. Attorney Michael Easley, along with federal and local law enforcement, announced efforts Monday to target drug distribution networks in Sampson and Duplin counties.
“Our office is working closely with our state and local partners to get illegal drugs and guns off the streets and put those fueling the drug epidemic behind bars,” Easley said. “We are using every tool available to make our communities safer.”
A joint operation that targeted suspected armed drug dealers took place last week involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Sampson, Duplin and New Hanover county sheriffs’ offices, and police departments in Goldsboro, Jacksonville and Wilmington, said Don Connelly, public information officer, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of North Carolina.
As part of the operation, search warrants and arrest warrants were executed at multiple locations in Duplin and Sampson counties.
Items seized include suspected drugs including 8 pounds of cocaine; more than 4 ounces of fentanyl; more than 1 ounce of suspected crack cocaine; drug packing and distribution materials; about $10,000 in cash; and multiple firearms and ammunition.
“I am thankful for the cooperation of our federal and state partners in combating the drug epidemic,” said Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton.
“While these seizures don’t solve the problem, they send the message that this activity is not welcomed or tolerated in our community.”
According to court documents, on the same day the search warrants were executed, five people were arrested on federal charges.
The arrests include Christopher Hill, 42, Sampson County, distribution of methamphetamine; Cheri Boyette, 45, Duplin County, distribution of methamphetamine; Peyton McBride, 42, Sampson County, distribution of cocaine; Rashawn Ray McDuffie, 43, Duplin County, conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; and Dennis Ray Taylor, 57, Duplin County, distribution of methamphetamine.
“Drug trafficking too often fuels the violent crime law enforcement is working hard to address,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Bennie Mims. “Disrupting these networks has a major impact on fighting violent gun crime.”
An indictment/criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“Dangerous drugs have taken a terrible toll on our communities,” said Robert J. Murphy, special agent in charge of the DEA Atlanta Division. “Drug traffickers should know they will face the consequences of their actions.”
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