Opiate trafficking charges leveled in 2 stops

Sherry Matthews Editor

September 17, 2013

Two separate traffic stops — one on 4th Street in Garland, the other on Boykin Bridge Road — has landed two Sampson County residents in jail facing several drug-related offenses, including trafficking in opiates.

Joshua Antonio Townsend, 18, of 2246 Greensbridge Road, Garland was the first individual stopped by a Criminal Interdiction Division agent for a minor traffic violation late early Friday evening.

According to Sampson Sheriff’s Cpl. Marcus Smith, a CID agent pulled Townsend over on East 4th Street. A consent search of the vehicle proved problematic for the driver when 6.8 grams of opium was discovered. Townsend was immediately taken into custody and charged with felony trafficking opium by transport and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Officers also seized an air-powered gun during the arrest.

Townsend was placed under a $40,000 bond and is scheduled to make his first appearance in Sampson District Court Sept. 27.

Some three hours later, on Boykin Bridge Road, another CID agent stopped a Chevrolet Prizm for a traffic violation, and again a consent search led to a felony drug arrest.

In this incident, which happened around 10:30 Friday night, Elisheba Tamar Powell, 25, of 3455 Turkey Hwy., was taken into custody after the officer found 5.5 grams of opium and 1.9 grams of marijuana in her purse.

Powell was taken into custody and charged with trafficking in opiates by transport, trafficking in opiates by possession, both felonies, and one misdemeanor count of possession of marijuana.

She was placed in the Sampson Detention Center under a $40,000 bond and is expected to make her first court appearance on Sept. 27.

Smith said both arrests are clear examples of why traffic stops are so vital.

“They do play a vital role,” Smith affirmed. “Stops, whether they are by patrol deputies, drug agents or the CID are important in helping us stop any kind of criminal activity.”