Suspicious activity at the I-40 rest area in Warsaw led to drug trafficking charges against a Faison man after 164 individually-wrapped packages of heroin were seized from his vehicle along with cocaine, the result of information relayed between two local agencies that led to the Sampson County stop.
On Tuesday, deputies with the Sampson County Criminal Interdiction Team were contacted by Warsaw Police Department and notified to be on the lookout for a black GMC Denali pickup truck that may be traveling into Sampson on I-40.
Warsaw Police officers informed deputies of some suspicious activity by the driver at the rest area. Deputies with the Criminal Interdiction Team located the vehicle on I-40 and conducted a traffic stop based on information received as well as a window tint violation. The stop was made near the 353-mile marker in the Faison as the truck traveled westbound.
A search of the vehicle yielded what sheriff’s authorities termed 164 “bindles” of heroin (total approximate weight was 6.5 grams, with a street value around $1,650) and 11.9 grams of cocaine.
The driver, Joshua King, 26, of 3516 Suttontown Road, Faison, was taken into custody and charged with trafficking cocaine by possession, trafficking cocaine by transport, trafficking heroin by possession, trafficking heroin by transport, possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, maintaining a vehicle for the storage of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Bond was set at $50,000 secured. King is scheduled to appear in court on April 20.
“Our officers will continue to work proactively to remove drugs from our streets,” Sheriff Jimmy Thornton stated. “I-40 has been proven time and time again as a major source where drugs enter into or through our county.”
Contrary to other I-40 seizures, which often involve people from well outside the county — sometimes out of state — trafficking large amounts of drugs through the county and up and down the coast, sheriff’s officials said there was nothing to indicate King was living anywhere other than his Faison-area address, meaning the drugs could be staying in the immediate area.
Bindle packaging, Sheriff’s Lt. Marcus Smith noted, is the more common method of packaging heroin and the cost is “usually around $10” apiece. He and others, including Warsaw Police Chief Eric Southerland, praised quality law enforcement work between the two agencies, something Southerland said is vital to combating a continuing problem.
“This is a case of not only good police work, but outstanding communication among neighboring law enforcement agencies,” Smith stated. “The Warsaw Police Department should be commended for their proactive efforts and their quick thinking in this case. The cooperation between both agencies allowed for officers to remove this poison from our streets and community.”
Southerland said he was “extremely glad” to have that working relationship with the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies.
“Narcotic traffickers commonly operate in different jurisdictions and it takes the willingness of agencies to work together to apprehend these individuals or organizations,” the police chief stated. “It takes this effort and the willingness to get the bad guy off of the street, no matter which jurisdiction the suspect is caught in.”
There is a large amount of drug trafficking along the interstate corridor, including the rest area in Warsaw, he pointed out.
”Our officers continuously work that area,” said Southerland, “and will continue working with other agencies to apprehend or assist in the apprehension of those involved in illegal activities.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-592-8137 ext. 2587. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.