A yearlong, multi-agency operation saw 11 pounds of cocaine and several firearms seized, and has resulted in federal charges of narcotics conspiracy against five “major players” in Sampson County — and that is just the start, the sheriff said.
The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on Thursday announced the arrests of the five defendants “pursuant to federal criminal complaints for narcotics conspiracy in Sampson County.”
The five arrested Thursday are: Antonio McKoy, 30, of Garland; James Daniel McKoy, 51, of Garland; Bryant Carr, 37, of Roseboro; Andrekia Parker, 23, of Garland; and Anthony Barnes, 30, of Turkey. Mugshots and arrest reports were still being compiled as of press time Thursday, however more information was to be released — and additional arrests made — in the near future.
“Over 100 federal, state and local officers were involved in the culmination of this task force’s work,” Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton stated. “Although only five suspects were charged federally, there will be additional arrests both at the state and federal level. Today, we focused on locating the major players, however we will continue to make additional arrests in the coming days.”
Multiple search warrants and over 20 federal and state arrest warrants were executed Thursday in and around Sampson as part of a yearlong investigation into what authorities called “a violent multi-defendant drug trafficking organization.” During the investigation, law enforcement was able to seize over 11 pounds of cocaine and purchase several firearms.
“The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations. The defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law,” a statement released by the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office read.
The case is a Federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) criminal matter and was investigated by a laundry list of county, state and federal agencies. Along with the Sampson Sheriff’s Office and the ATF, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, Jacksonville Police Department, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Probation Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the North Carolina Department of Revenue and Sampson County Emergency Services.
Thornton expressed his thanks to all of the agencies involved for their assistance.
“I am especially proud of my investigators and deputies for their diligence and determination throughout this investigation,” the sheriff added. “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.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.