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Deputies target drug suspects

 

JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

 

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office unveiled another major drug operation Wednesday morning in an effort to roundup more than 50 alleged dealers, a majority of whom are first-time offenders, narcotics investigators said.

Operation “52 Pick Up” comes nearly three weeks after Lincolnton Police carried out a similar operation, dubbed “Rock Bottom,” and targeted less than half the number of individuals accused in Wednesday’s effort.

Other than occasional assistance from Catawba County Sheriff’s deputies, Lincoln County Sheriff’s narcotics officers said they carried out the bulk of undercover buys for this month’s roundup, encountering marijuana, cocaine, heroin and prescription pills — the same substances they’ve continued to buy from street-level dealers over the last couple of years.

Investigators said they commenced their investigation immediately following the conclusion of their October roundup, Operation “Route 66.”

SWAT officers commenced Wednesday’s roundup by raiding a county residence at 5:30 a.m. following a 5 a.m. briefing at Sheriff’s Office headquarters in Lincolnton.

While the tactical team doesn’t carry out arrests, its officers are vital in securing the property of any residence they deem potentially dangerous.

“SWAT is only used for high-risk apprehensions,” Lt. Jason Reid, head of narcotics, said.

On April 8, a grand jury handed down indictments to the effort’s alleged offenders, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The indictments contained more than 120 felony drug charges.

Deputies carried out arrests in teams during the operation, each one equipped with their own list of indicted individuals to serve.

Deputies said they used the effort to target between 30 and 40 area residents who owe controlled substance tax and called on officials’ assistance with the North Carolina Department of Revenue. Law enforcement officials specifically advised arrest teams to notify narcotics investigators of any U.S. currency located on individuals owing the tax, so it could be seized.

Unlike the law enforcement agency’s four previous operations, most of the individuals in this month’s roundup have never been before been arrested, a press release said.

Reid explained the reasoning behind the noticeable trend.

“A lot of people we have picked up in earlier roundups are now incarcerated, have moved out of Lincoln County or won’t sell controlled substances in Lincoln County,” he said in the release.

While drug roundups occur periodically throughout the county each year, the Sheriff’s Office is committed to disrupting prescription pill and other controlled substance abuse on a daily basis, often following up on tips from people who routinely call the agency’s Drug Tip Line.

“We are aggressively pursuing drug traffickers every day,” Reid said. “We appreciate the community’s support and the assistance we have received…in targeting drug offenders.”

Assistant District Attorney Mike Miller and Lincoln County Magistrates additionally assisted in the arrest and process of Wednesday’s offenders, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The operation is ongoing, and officers will continue to apprehend individuals throughout the rest of the morning.

The following individuals have been indicted in Operation “52 Pick Up”:

Michael Eugene Adams, 33, of 1609 Broome St. in Lincolnton was indicted for one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule II controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

Clinton Andrew Barnes, 21, of 4712 Fargo Trl. in Vale was indicted on one count of obtaining property by false pretenses.

Jason Todd Blackmon, 32, of Brown Watterson Rd. in Cherryville was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule II controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.

Brittany Nicole Bond, 21, of 1626 Green Acres Rd. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule IV controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule IV controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.

Rebecca Huffman Branch, 32, of 3716 Gastonia Hwy. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of trafficking a schedule II controlled substance by possession, trafficking a schedule II controlled substance by selling and delivering a schedule II controlled substance.

Michael Lee Brigman, 24, of 2728 Banyon Ln. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule IV controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule IV controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance

Kimberly Spring Brittain, 21, of 409 Tot Dellinger Rd. in Cherryville was indicted on one count each of trafficking opiates by possession and trafficking opiates by selling and delivering.

Crystal Faye Bumgarner, 30, of 39 Railroad St. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule II controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

Patricia Gayle Burleson, 44, of 1481 Depot St. in Iron Station was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule IV controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule IV controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.

Phillip Lawrence Byers, 42, of 228 Bessemer City Rd. in Gastonia was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule II controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.

Alexa Jo Carnes, 25, of 7460 Palm Tree Dr. in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule I controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule I controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling/vehicle for a controlled substance.

Richard Zane Christenbury, 22, of 1854 Beaumont Ln. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule II controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.

Timothy Lynn Cloninger, 50, of 4884 E. N.C. 27 in Iron Station was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule II controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling/vehicle for a controlled substance.

Linda Louise Davidson, 63, of 5230 Lawhorn Rd. in Denver was indicted on one count each of manufacturing marijuana, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance.

Kaitlyn Sarah Fink, 19, of 242 Saxon Ln. in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule III controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule III controlled substance.

Ashley Nicole Frye, 30, of 206 Turner St. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.

Brian Christopher Gantt, 29, of 306 Cooper Rd. in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule I controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule I controlled substance, possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance.

Randy Allen Gibson, 20, of 1510 Huntersville Commons Dr. Apt D in Huntersville was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.

Kindle Nicole Green, 28, of 1153 West Shore Dr. in Lancaster, S.C., was indicted on one count each of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and trafficking opium.

Brandon Sherad Harbison, 23, of 7266 Hallman Mill Rd. in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance.

Billy Gene Harkey, 39, of 2375 Rock Dam Rd. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of trafficking a schedule II controlled substance by possession and trafficking a schedule II controlled substance by selling and delivering.

Jimi Chalee Harkey, 25, of 134 Stowe Rd. in Gastonia was indicted on one count each of trafficking opiates by possession and trafficking opiates by selling and delivering.

Tabitha Lynn Hass-Guffie, 34, of 1954 Scenic Dr. in Iron Station was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule II controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance and trafficking a schedule II controlled substance.

Jason Lee Hill, 36, of 2437 Skyview Ln. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule I controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule I controlled substance, possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance.

Dakota Bret Hull, 19, of 667 Tallent Rd. in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance.

Dustin Ray Ingle, 19, of 2257 Startown Rd. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.

Amy Cheri Johnson, 22, of 785 Cedar Grove Church Rd. in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance.

Anthony Louis Johnson Jr., 21, of 308 Horseshoe Lake Rd. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.

Jennifer Denise Keeler, 22, of 232 Power House Rd. in Lawndale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.

Kimberly Michelle Marshall, 33, of 7682 Sawdust Trl. in Denver was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule I controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule I controlled substance.

Kendra Michelle McCombs, 24, of 124 Morning Glory Farm Rd. in Casar, N.C., was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance.

Thomas Utah McDonald, 18, of 10711 South Ford Rd. in Charlotte was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.

Damarius Corday Miller, 26, of 4895 Mayble St. in Catawba was indicted on one count each of trafficking cocaine and conspiracy.

Kenneth James Papineau, 27, of 544 Belwood Lawndale Rd. in Lawndale was indicted on one count each of trafficking a schedule II controlled substance by possession with intent to sell and distribute and trafficking a schedule II controlled substance by selling and delivering.

Lindsey Jane Patterson, 17, of 117 Shytle Rd. #2 in Lawndale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute Lorazepam, sell and deliver Lorazepam and maintaining a vehicle for a controlled substance.

Wendy Blackburn Patterson, 42, of 5425 W. N.C. 27 in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.

Kevin Alejandro Rodriguez, 20, of 3941 English Oak Dr. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule I controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule I controlled substance.

David Rowe III, 37, of 3816 King Wilkinson Rd. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.

Donna Lounette Shannon, 38, of 233 Flat Rock Dr. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count of trafficking a schedule II controlled substance.

Ricky Lynn Shannon, 47, of 226 Flat Rock Dr. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count of trafficking a schedule II controlled substance.

Carl Dean Smith, 43, of 1385 Clark’s Creek Cir. in Newton was indicted on one count of trafficking opiates.

Raymond Harry Smith III, 43, of 2816 Mead Ave. in Gastonia was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule II controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance.

Teddy James Snyder, 41, of 231 Camelot Lane, Lot 16, in Vale was indicted on one count each of trafficking by possession and trafficking by selling and delivering.

Gregory Lawrence Stewart, 21, of 6199 W. N.C. 27 in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance.

Casey Ryan Watts, 25, of 104 Teresa Ln. in Bessemer City was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute as schedule VI controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance.

Jessica Louise Weathers, 33, of 1321 Rustic Trl. in Lincolnton was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule III controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule III controlled substance.

Ronnie Lee Whitworth, 31, of 7159 Lackey Rd. in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule III controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule III controlled substance.

Stephanie Brooke Wilson, 20, of 3444 Reepsville Rd. in Vale was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance and sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance.

Mitchell Scott Wise, 20, of 7166 Kidville Rd. in Denver was indicted on one count each of possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule VI controlled substance, sell and deliver a schedule VI controlled substance and conspiracy.

Milton Young Jr., 57, of 3024 East Independence Blvd., Unit 708, in Charlotte was indicted on one count of attempting to obtain a controlled substance by forgery/fraud.

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