Two Wilmington residents were arrested, and a cache of party pills, marijuana and firearms seized, following a traffic stop on Interstate 40 on Tuesday.
According to reports, the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Interdiction Team conducted the stop Tuesday in the westbound lanes of I-40, near the 355 mile marker in the Faison area. A 1998 Toyota 4 Runner was stopped at about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday for a motor vehicle violation, reports state. A search of the vehicle took place soon thereafter, yielding colorful pills and weapons.
“A probable cause search was conducted due to the odor of marijuana coming from inside of the vehicle,” Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith stated.
During the search, officers discovered 176 dosage units of MDMA (ecstasy), 21 dosage units of Xanax and 9 grams of marijuana. There were three firearms seized, including an AK-47 rifle and two handguns, which were found in a rifle case in the trunk of the vehicle. A hollowed-out Webster’s Dictionary, which was actually a safe, was also seized.
MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), more commonly known as ecstasy or molly, is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception, similar to hallucinogens, producing increased energy, emotional warmth and distorted sense of time and place. It is usually taken in tablet form, but can be consumed as liquid or snorted as powder. MDMA is commonly associated with dance parties, raves and electronic dance music, and is sometimes mixed with ephedrine, amphetamine and methamphetamine.
“It’s certainly not our first time dealing with ecstasy, but we haven’t gotten it in a while,” said Smith of the seizure. “It’s just not something we see every day. It’s just not as common, but it’s obviously something else that is out there.”
The two occupants of the vehicle were taken into custody and transported to the Sampson County Detention Center.
Jackson Hoey Hallman, 21, of 4917 Seabrook Court, Wilmington, was charged with trafficking in MDA/MDMA by possession; trafficking in MDA/MDMA by transport; possession with intent to sell and deliver MDA/MDMA; maintaining a dwelling for storage of a controlled substance; simple possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance; simple possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Brayan Onasis Suarez-Hernandez, 21, of 507 Purdue Drive, Wilmington, was charged with trafficking in MDA/MDMA by possession; possession with intent to sell and deliver MDA/MDMA; simple possession of a Schedule VI controlled substance; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Both men received $40,000 secured bond for the charges against them.
Smith noted that Hallman and Suarez-Hernandez are not convicted felons — a search of the N.C. Department of Public Safety database confirmed as much in this state — and had no pending charges on them prior to Tuesday’s stop.
No other charges or arrests are expected, he said.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.