Two men are facing felony drug trafficking charges after a routine traffic stop for a minor violation Tuesday evening on N.C. Hwy. 242 turned into something far more serious.
Jose Fredis Pene Arriola, 23 of Durham, and Randy White Mason, 55 of Macon, were taken into custody and transported to the Sampson County Sheriff’s after the 2007 Ford F-150 they were riding in was pulled over around 10:15 p.m.
Their “unusual behavior” led deputies to have a K-9 deputy conduct a sniff of the vehicle. The K-9 alerted and a subsequent search revealed five kilos of cocaine.
Arriola was charged with possession of cocaine for trafficking; possession of cocaine for transport; and conspiracy to traffic cocaine. Arriola was placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under a $100,000 bond and was given a trail date of July 6.
Mason, who was driving the vehicle, was charged with possession of cocaine for trafficking; possession of cocaine for transport; conspiracy to traffic cocaine, and maintaining a vehicle for controlled substance. Mason was placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under a $150,000 bond and will appear in court on Friday as well.
“This traffic stop illustrates the need for personnel assigned to conduct proactive law enforcement patrols with emphasis on drug interdiction,” said Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton. “The chances of a patrol deputy, who is busy responding from call to call, being able to engage in proactive patrol is very limited thereby constraining our ability to get dangerous drugs off the streets. Every function at the Sheriff’s Office is essential from the patrol deputy to the criminal interdiction deputy to the narcotics investigator. Each of their job responsibilities is different, however each one’s work complements the others’ for a comprehensive approach to battling drugs and crime associated with drugs.
Thornton said the Criminal Interdiction Team has taken the drugs off the streets, which, once converted, would have a street value of over a million dollars.
“Our interdiction efforts in Sampson County have been successful in preventing millions of dollars in illegal drugs from reaching someone’s child or loved one over the past few years. Our mission is to ensure the safety of the public and to foster a quality of life for our children, which allows them to grow up in a safe environment since they are our greatest asset. Unfortunately, there are local politicians who wish to abolish the Criminal Interdiction Team, which would essentially kill our interdiction efforts.”
Thornton did not specify which politicians he was referring to during his comments.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.