A Byrd Street resident sat handcuffed on his front porch Monday afternoon, beads of sweat a clear indicator of the hot, humid August afternoon air. Around him a bevy of armed Clinton Police officers were hard at work, searching the residence, the grounds and a car parked outside.
Just down the street, a swarm of Sampson Special Investigation Division agents were plowing through the front door of another residence, a brick structure sparsely furnished, stale smelling, with clothes strewn about on splintered, dust-riddled floors, all signs of life lived in what officers were calling a “crack house.”
But Byrd Street residences were just two of many targets of a months-long undercover campaign culminating with the raids which began Monday in the city of Clinton and spilled over into nearly every area of the county.
Those campaigns were ongoing Tuesday and are continuing today as law enforcement officers executed search warrants, stormed homes and took into custody individuals on myriad drug charges that ranged from trafficking to sell and deliver of a laundry list of controlled substances and prescription medications. In some cases guns and property were also seized.
About a dozen individuals have already been rounded up in drug raids that began Monday and are expected to continue until over 100 area residents have been charged and jailed.
“This has been extremely successful so far,” said Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley, contacted about the probe late Tuesday. “Not only are we seizing drugs but we are getting a lot of weapons in the process. This is going to have a tremendous impact on the city’s overall crime.”
That sentiment was echoed by Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton who noted that the arrests made so far have been good ones. “This has been an excellent campaign. We are getting those off the street we believe are a big part of the drug culture in our county.”
In all, 13 have been taken into custody so far, with dozens more arrests expected in the coming days and weeks.
On Monday, Clinton investigators executed three search warrants at three different locations, making arrests for outstanding warrants for the sale of narcotics. They also seized addition drugs during the search and leveled more charges.
• Christopher Jay Neal, 36, 939 Phillips St., Apt. B, Clinton, sale and deliver marijuana, possession with intent to sale marijuana, felony possession of marijuana, possession of a firearm by a felon. Marijuana was seized during the search, along with three firearms. Bond $50,000.
• Tiara Kendre Monique Johnson, 35, 939 Phillips St., Apt. B, Clinton, sale and deliver marijuana, possession with intent to sell marijuana. Bond $25,000.
• Jaermelle Levar Smith, 35, 302 Eastover Ave., Clinton, 2 counts possession of firearm by felon; 1 count selling a firearm with the serial number removed; 1 count selling a stolen firearm; 1 count felony possession of opiates; 1 count each possession, sale and deliver opiates. An additional 13 grams of opiates was recovered during the search. Bond $100,000.
• Amanda Dawn Bell, 36, 3012 Eastover Ave., Clinton 1 count misdemeanor possession of Percocet and 1 count misdemeanor possession of Ativan. Released on citation.
• Larry Cornell Beamon, 35, 211 Byrd St., Clinton, 1 count each of sale and possession of marijuana, 1 count maintaining a dwelling for the purpose of selling controlled substances. Officers seized marijuana at the residence during the search resulting in a charge of 1 count possession of marijuana with intent to sell. Bond $25,000.
• Henry Lewis Moore, 41, 610 Williams St., Clinton, 2 counts sale and deliver cocaine; 2 counts possession cocaine with intent to sell and deliver. Bond $35,000.
• Benjamin McKinnley Cunningham, 55, 400 West Morrisey Blvd., Clinton, 1 count sale and deliver Methadone and Roxicet; 1 count possession of Methadone and Roxicet with intent to sell and deliver; 1 count maintaining a vehicle for purpose of sell and delivery of Methadone and Roxicet; 2 counts sale and deliver Methadone; 2 counts possession of Methadone with intent to sell and deliver; 1 count maintaining a vehicle for purpose of sell and delivery of Methadone. Bond $75,500.
• Anita Lavita Pitts, 50, 624 Williams St., Clinton, 1 count sell and deliver marijuana, 1 count possession of marijuana with intent to sell and deliver. Bond $25,000.
• Anthony Merle Hoots, 41, 2650 Basstown Road, Clinton, 1 count sell and deliver Methadone and Roxicet; 1 count possession of Methadone and Roxicet with intent to sell and deliver. Bond $25,000.
All the suspects were placed in the Sampson County Detention Center.
On Monday, sheriff’s investigators leveled the following charges against residents in the city and county as part of their Operation Double Tap, a year-long undercover campaign that Sampson Sheriff Jimmy Thornton called a war waged against illegal and prescription drugs.
• Carl McDaniel Faison, 31, 84 Ella Lane, Turkey, conspire to traffic cocaine. Bond $10,000.
• Larry C. Beamon Jr., 211 Byrd St., Clinton, 2 counts maintaining a vehicle/dwelling for sell of controlled substance, 2 counts sell marijuana, 2 counts deliver marijuana, 2 counts possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana. Bond $100,000.
• Christopher Jay Neal, 36, 939-B Phillips St., Apt. B, 3 counts sell marijuana, 3 counts deliver marijuana, 3 counts maintaining a dwelling, 3 counts possession with intent to sell and deliver. Bond $150,000.
• Jeremlle Levar Smith, 34, 302 Eastover Ave., Clinton, 2 counts sell marijuana, 2 counts deliver marijuana, 2 counts maintaining a dwelling. Bond $70,000.
• Jerry Lesene, 35, 502 Royal Lane, Clinton, 3 counts possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, 3 counts sell marijuana, 3 counts deliver marijuana, 3 counts maintaining a dwelling for controlled substance, 4 counts trafficking opium or heroin, 1 count possession with intent to sell and deliver Schedule II controlled substance, 3 counts manufacture, sell, deliver a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a park. Bond $235,000.
(Editor Sherry Matthews can be reached at 910-249-4612. Follow her on Twitter @sieditor1960; follow the paper @SampsonInd.)