FAISON — Another week has brought another heroin arrest on Interstate 40 in Sampson County.
Stephanie Leigh Vogel, 25, of 357 Daniels Creek, Sanford, was charged with possession of heroin, possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. The 2004 Oldsmobile she was driving was stopped on I-40 at mile marker 355 East in the Faison area on Monday afternoon and subsequently booked in the Sampson County Detention Center.
Officers with the Criminal Interdiction Team conducted the stop for a traffic violation and gained consent to search the vehicle, Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith noted.
“During the search, heroin and crack cocaine were located inside the vehicle,” he said. The officers seized 1.7 grams of heroin and a little less than half a gram of crack cocaine during the stop, according to Vogel’s arrest report filed Tuesday.
Her bond was set at $50,000 secured.
Vogel’s is just the most recent heroin-related arrest on I-40. Just last week, a routine traffic stop on the interstate resulted in the arrest of a New Jersey man, who was found in possession of 368 grams (13 ounces) of heroin, discovered hidden inside the vehicle, according to reports. He was charged with multiple counts of trafficking the drug.
The week before that, another arrest netted 11 bindles — small envelope used for carrying powdered drugs — of heroin and the arrest of a 26-year-old Raleigh man on several offenses, including possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver heroin.
Following last week’s arrest, Smith said the New Jersey resident taken into custody was traveling east on I-40, from New Jersey to Wilmington, a route with which sheriff’s authorities and other local agencies were very familiar. A huge bust on I-40 in October resulted in the seizure of 7,000 bindles of heroin and the arrests of two men — a 22-year-old from Hillside, N.J., and a 17-year-old from Wilmington, N.C. — on a slew of charges.
“I-40 serves as a major transport route for heroin from New Jersey and other areas to Wilmington,” Smith said then. “Law enforcement has noticed a rise in heroin use over the past years and we are doing everything in our powers to combat the problem.”
I-40 extends for 20 miles along the northeastern portion of Sampson County. Smith said patrolling that stretch of roadway in Sampson is a “joint effort from all agencies working together to stop the flow of narcotics.” That effort is being led by those on the road, including the Sheriff’s Criminal Interdiction Team.
That team is comprised of five “specially trained and skill officers,” whose responsibility is to seek out criminal activity through motor vehicle enforcement, Smith noted. They focus on all criminal activity that occurs by means of motor vehicle use, which includes drunken driving, drugs, break-ins and other offenses.
“The vast majority of criminals use vehicles as a method of travel — the concept is to intercept these criminals proactively,” Smith remarked. “These officers are highly trained in the detection of criminal activity and criminal deception.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.