An interstate traffic stop on a speeding vehicle landed two out-of-towners in the Sampson County Detention Center facing multiple drug charges Wednesday and brought about the seizure of over 3 pounds of marijuana.
Contacted this morning, Sampson Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith confirmed the stop and the arrests, noting that it occurred around 4 p.m. Wednesday in the eastbound lane of I-40 near mile marker 353.
Taken into custody were Storm Tootle, 21, 102 Hunt Drive, Hubert, and passenger Mackenzie Hayes, 19, of 130 Corbett Road, Swansboro.
Tootle was charged with the three felonies — possession of marijuana, possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a vehicle for the sell of a controlled substance — and one misdemeanor — possession of drug paraphernalia.
Hayes was charged with possession of marijuana and possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, both felonies. She was also charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.
Smith said the arrests were made after deputies with the Criminal Interdiction Team observed a vehicle speeding along the interstate with illegally tinted windows.
“They made the stop and conducted a probable cause search on the vehicle and its occupants after detecting a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside,” Smith said.
The search uncovered over 3 pounds of marijuana, digital scales and other drug paraphernalia, Smith said.
The driver and passenger were taken into custody. Tootle was placed under a $35,000 bond; Hayes under a $25,000. No court dates were available.
Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton touted the efforts of his CID officers who, he said, were always vigilant in watching for signs of possible illegal activity.
“This shows, yet again, our pro-activeness in dealing with the drug problems we have,” Thornton stressed. ” I can tell you our young people are getting more and more involved with drugs, so every little bit we get, be it small or large, keeps that much out of the hands of our children. That’s our salvation, really, the things we can do to stop drugs coming into our county.”
The sheriff said the drug problem had a far-reaching impact, one important reason his department would remain vigilant in its effort.
“It (drugs) is destroying our county and our society,” Thornton attested. “It’s playing havoc and it drives everything from a crime standpoint.”