Five more rounded up in Crush

Sherry Matthews Editor

October 13, 2013

The wide net of a county drug campaign closed around five more Sampson County residents late this week as a laundry list of offenses running the gamut of illegal substances were leveled against them.

With the arrest of Jeffrey Clark James, 52, 1313 Eugene Jernigan Road, Dunn; Brian Derrick Carr, 28, 561 Kader Merritt Road, Rose Hill; Terrice Quanta Smith, 31, 160 Shaun Lane, Clinton; Lathon Wider III, 43, 218 Ruby Lane, Clinton; and Randy Rich, 33, 526 Dark Horse Lane, Clinton, a total of 20 individuals have now been taken into custody as part of Operation Candy Crush. Twenty more residents have yet to be served, but county law enforcement officers are working to round them up as the campaign, which began six months ago, heightened this week with the onslaught of arrests.

“I am pleased that this operation is combating the problems we face every day with illegal drugs,” said Sampson Sheriff Jimmy Thornton at the beginning of the week, acknowledging that the county’s drug problems are at an epidemic state.

“It’s alarming and concerning that we have this type of activity going on all the time in our county, but it’s a reality we all have to face.”

As he often does, the sheriff credited the work of citizens willing to call in tips and complaints to the Sheriff’s Office as a driving force behind many of the campaigns, like Candy Crush, and the arrests that are a result of them.

“I cannot stress it enough,” Thornton said. “The information citizens provide is vital; their help is often key.”

Many of the individuals targeted in the operation, a press release noted, were identified through tips from concerned citizens.

The latest five to be taken into custody are facing myriad felonies dealing with everything from the sell of cocaine to trafficking in opiates.

Rich, jailed under a $30,000 bond, faces felony charges of selling cocaine (2 counts); delivering cocaine (2 counts); and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance (2 counts). His first appearance in Sampson County District Court has been set for Oct. 25.

Wider is charged with five felony counts of trafficking opiates and one count of misdemeanor possession of marijuana.Officers seized 98 dosage units of opium and 1 gram of marijuana. Wider was placed under a $75,000 bond and made his first appearance in court Friday, Oct. 11.

Smith, jailed under a $40,000 bond, is charged with the felony offenses of selling cocaine, delivering cocaine, sell of a Schedule II controlled substance and delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance. Officers, reports note, seized .20 grams of crack cocaine and 10 dosage unites of Oxycodone. He also made his first court appearance Friday, Oct. 11.

Carr is charged with eight felonies, including 2 counts selling marijuana, two counts delivering marijuana; two counts of maintaining a vehicle for sell of a controlled substance and one count each of sell of a Schedule II controlled substance and delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance. His bond was set at $40,000 and an Oct. 25 first appearance in court was scheduled.

James, jailed under a $40,000 bond, faces seven felony charges, including two counts each of selling marijuana, delivering marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for the sale of a controlled substance and one of possession of marijuana. In addition he faces one misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Officers seized 137.9 grams of marijuana. His first court appearance in scheduled for Oct. 25.

More arrests are expected in the coming weeks. Watch the Sampson Independent and for the latest updates on the Crush operation.