A major drug bust that was believed to have hauled in over 5 kilos of cocaine, putting two men behind bars back in July, was not so major after all — tests on the cocaine, received Tuesday afternoon, showed that the substance was actually fake.
Jose Fredis Pene Arriola, 23, of 714 E. Mainor Ave, Durham, who was initially charged with possession of cocaine for trafficking; possession of cocaine for transport; conspiracy to traffic cocaine and placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under a $100,000 bond, was re-charged Tuesday afternoon with only possession with intent to sell and deliver a counterfeit controlled substance.
Arriola, still in the Sampson County Detention Center on the initial charges, was given a reduced bond of $30,000 and a new trial date of Sept. 28.
According to reports from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Arriola and a companion were driving in a Ford F-150 truck on Tuesday, July 3, on N.C. Hwy. 242 near Timothy Road, when they were pulled over for a seat belt violation around 10:15 p.m.
The “unusual behavior” of Arriola and his passenger led deputies to call in a K-9 deputy and have the animal conduct a sniff of the vehicle. The K-9 alerted and a subsequent search revealed what was believed at the time to be 5 kilos of cocaine.
The Criminal Interdiction Team believed the drugs, once converted, would have had a street value of over a million dollars. But all that changed Tuesday when tests for the cocaine came back from the lab as counterfeit.
The other man in the vehicle with Arriola, Randy White Mason, 55 of Macon, who was driving, 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. His charges have also been lowered to that of possession with intent to sell and deliver a counterfeit controlled substance and transporting a counterfeit controlled substance. A bond was not available for him Tuesday.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to email@example.com.