GARLAND — Two men have been charged in separate felony drug cases, one following a routine business security check in Garland, another on half a dozen felony warrants in connection with a Sampson County Sheriff’s Office drug campaign that targeted southern Sampson County.
The business check landed Joshua Lentrel Pigford, 23, of 1527 Buckhorn Road, Willard, behind bars on charges of possession of cocaine, possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance, possession of marijuana and resisting a public officer.
According to reports, the deputy assigned to Garland stopped by the Family Dollar on South Ingold Avenue in Garland to do a routine business check within the community.
“While inside, he smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming from a customer in the store,” said Lt. Marcus Smith, relaying the deputy’s reports. “The officer waited until the customer left the business and approached him outside of the store at (his) vehicle.”
The deputy reportedly informed the suspect that he smelled marijuana coming from him inside the business and continued to smell it while they were talking outside and, as a result, he was going to search him.
“During the search the deputy discovered a small bag containing a powder believed to be cocaine,” said Smith. “Upon discovering the cocaine, the suspect attempted to flee from the officer, but was quickly detained.”
A further search of the suspect and his 2009 Nissan Altima uncovered more narcotics. According to reports, a small amount of cocaine was seized, as well as 4.2 grams of crack, 0.36 ounces of marijuana and six Xanax pills.
Pigford was booked just before 8 p.m. Friday placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under $8,000 secured bond.
“This is another example of how proactive law enforcement pays off,” Smith noted, “and how something as simple as a business check can turn into something much more for officers.”
‘Dirty’ arrest made
Also on Friday, a Clinton man was served with six outstanding felony warrants in connection with a campaign conducted by the Sheriff’s Office last year.
Lorenzo Jarod Henry, 24, of 469 Ezzell Road, Clinton, was charged with two counts each of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, selling marijuana and delivering marijuana.
He was taken into custody on Friday. Officers reportedly went to the residence on Ezzell Road, where they served the outstanding warrant, issued Nov. 19, 2015.
The warrants stem from the Sheriff’s Office’s “Dirty South” campaign, which targeted what investigators called “an overwhelming number of drug complaints” originating mainly in the southern end of Sampson.
Early last year, investigators with the Sheriff’s Special Investigations Division started the campaign in an answer to those complaints, dubbing the operation “Dirty South” due to its geographic focus. The operation closed in on street-level drug sales of marijuana, cocaine, meth and opiates.
On Nov. 19, 2015, investigators began making their first of numerous drug arrests from the campaign. The next month it was announced that nearly 40 suspects had been arrested and charged in connection with the campaign, with still “numerous more” to be made.
“These arrests should send a strong and clear message to those who choose to deal drugs in Sampson County that they need to find another occupation or they’re going to end up in our jail,” Sheriff Jimmy Thornton stated following the massive first wave of arrests.
Since that time, just a handful of outstanding warrants have been served, with Henry’s being the latest.
Henry was placed in the Sampson Detention Center under $20,000 secured bond.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.