A Turkey man has been arrested on felony drug trafficking offenses following a months-long, multi-agency investigation into possible meth activity that reportedly turned up more than an ounce of the drug on the man’s Sampson County property.
Agents with the Sampson County Sheriff’s Special Investigation Division executed the search warrant in the early morning hours Saturday at the residence of Jesus Fernandez, 43, of 5889 Cornwallis Road, Turkey.
Fernandez was arrested and charged with trafficking in methamphetamine, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under $250,000 secured bond.
The search warrant stemmed from a three-month long joint investigation with the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office involving the illegal trafficking of crystal methamphetamine, Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith said Monday.
The investigation was just the latest multi-agency crackdown on drugs in Sampson in which local officers have worked with those in Onslow.
In recent weeks, more than a dozen arrests were made following a yearlong multi-agency operation that focused on what authorities deemed “a violent multi-defendant drug trafficking organization.” Five Sampson residents were taken into custody on allegations of federal narcotics conspiracy, followed by nearly a dozen others on a slew of felony charges, nearly all of them from the southern end of Sampson County.
A federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) criminal matter, that case was investigated by several county, state and federal agencies — “over 100 federal, state and local officers” in all, Sheriff Jimmy Thornton noted.
Along with Sampson authorities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were a part, as was the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, Jacksonville Police Department, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Probation Office, the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, the N.C. Department of Revenue.
Upon announcing those arrests, Thornton promised to use all resources available to bring drug offenders to justice.
“To those who wish to engage in illegal activity involving drugs and violence – beware — the Sheriff’s Office will use any resource within our means to come after you,” he warned.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.