Over 220 dosage units of heroin was seized and one suspect arrested following a traffic stop over the weekend in Sampson County, proof, Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said, that heroin abuse is on the rise again.
Fayetteville resident James Markees Williams, 24, was taken into custody following the Criminal Interdiction Team traffic stop and charged with trafficking in heroin by possession, trafficking in heroin by transport, trafficking in heroin by manufacture, possession with intent to sell and deliver heroin and maintaining a vehicle for the sell of a controlled substance, all felonies
According to Lt. Marcus Smith, the Criminal Interdiction Team made the stop around 10 p.m. Saturday on JB Wilson Road in the northern part of Sampson.
During the stop, Smith noted, officers had enough probable cause to search the suspect’s vehicle, uncovering 225 dosage units of heroin and another 3.3 grams of marijuana.
A passenger in the vehicle fled the scene during the stop and was not apprehended. “The investigation is ongoing and their arrest is expected too,” Smith said.
Williams remained in the Sampson County Detention Center under a $200,000 bond Tuesday. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday.
His arrest adds to a growing list of individuals from Sampson and beyond taken into custody this year on heroin charges, yet another fact that points to the rise in the drugs usage and sell, according to Thornton.
“There’s no question we are seeing an increase in its use around here,” the sheriff noted. “It’s scary really because heroin is a very dangerous drug. Many of those using it are mixing it with Fentanyl and that creates a very lethal combination. It has been the cause of some of the overdoses we saw a month or so back.”
The reasons for the spike in use, he said, vary, but most can be directly attributed to the growing difficulty in users being able to get hold of prescription meds the way they once were.
“For one thing, prescription pills are more expensive than heroin so you are seeing more people who are addicted to prescription pain meds turning to the cheaper drug. And, it’s not as easy to doctor shop any more for those meds. Things are being more closely monitored from the doctor’s office to the pharmacies. That is making it more difficult for them (addicts) to get their hands on prescriptions, so they turn to heroin.”
Thornton said it was why his Criminal Interdiction Team continued to monitor major roadways, like US 13 and Interstate 40.
“We have picked up a bunch of heroin from I-40, and 13 is a major traffic area as well. We keep a close eye on both those areas, as well as others,” the sheriff attested.
Monitoring traffic and making stops for violations, he said, has certainly helped, netting both drug arrests and seizures. “Those traffic stops are continuing to pay off. We have gotten a lot of drugs coming into our county that way. Whatever drugs we seize are drugs that don’t make it to our streets and into the hands of our citizens.”
And, as he often says, his team will not let up. “No ma’am, we won’t let up. We are going to do everything in our power to make arrests and to get as many drugs as we can off our streets,” the sheriff stressed.
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