Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies said they busted cocaine traffickers during a traffic stop Tuesday night on N.C. 16 in Denver, resulting in a find of nearly 500 grams of the illegal substance, making it the county’s third largest seizure of its kind since David Carpenter’s administration took office in late 2010.
Catawba County residents Damarius Corday Miller, 26, of 4895 Maple Street in Catawba, and Mario Rico Danner, 26, of 2783 Dan Brown Road in Claremont, along with a woman, whom deputies did not name, were traveling north on N.C. 16 around 9 p.m. when deputies stopped their vehicle near the intersection of Sugarwood Lane, the Sheriff’s Office said.
After the three individuals began acting suspicious, deputies said they detained them and searched the vehicle, locating about a half kilo of cocaine.
Miller and Danner were arrested for drug possession while the woman was turned over to authorities with a neighboring county, a press release said.
The 496 grams of cocaine has the potential to sell for at least $18,000 on the street, but depending on how it’s packaged and sold, could be worth up to $100,000, according to narcotics investigators.
“It is extremely rare to seize that much cocaine on a routine traffic stop in this area,” Lt. Jason Reid, head of the county’s narcotics division, told the Times-News Thursday.
While the seizure captured the attention of deputies and narcotics investigators alike, it’s not the first time a significant supply of the white powdery substance has crossed through Lincoln County.
Deputies located two kilos of cocaine in November inside a vehicle on U.S. 321 and about 17 pounds of cocaine a year ago this month inside a false compartment in an abandoned vehicle on Buffalo Shoals Road, the Times-News previously reported. A K-9 sniffed out the drugs in what the Sheriff’s Office labeled its largest cocaine seizure in county history.
Investigators remain uncertain as to where the suspects and cocaine were headed Tuesday night or even where they may have snagged the drug.
Reid did say the Drug Enforcement Association considers Charlotte one of the country’s notorious “drug hubs” — a city that N.C. 16 and other county highways feed into.
Both men remain in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center, each under a $300,000 secured bond.
Miller faces one felony count each of trafficking in cocaine by transport, trafficking in cocaine by possession and conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
Danner faces one felony count each of trafficking in cocaine by transport, trafficking in cocaine by possession, conspiracy to traffic in cocaine and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.
According to public records on the North Carolina Department of Correction website, Miller has a felony record in Catawba County from 2010 for possessing stolen goods. His alleged counterpart, Danner, was convicted in 2007 for making a bomb threat in the same county.