A traffic stop has led to yet another drug arrest in Sampson County, and one man is now facing two felonies and one misdemeanor because of it.
Byron Dale Register, 20, of 51 Loop Road, Clinton, was arrested and charged following the stop. He now faces felony counts of possession with intent to sell/deliver marijuana; maintaining a vehicle for the sale/storage of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The incident began when a deputy with Sampson’s Criminal Interdiction Team stopped a vehicle on Southeast Boulevard in Clinton for a traffic violation Tuesday.
When the deputy asked the driver to step out of the vehicle, the suspect reportedly attempted to hide a plastic bag that was in view in the car. The deputy, reports note, immediately placed Register under arrest.
Seized following the arrest was 28.5 grams of marijuana.
Register was placed in the Sampson County Detention Center under a $30,000 bond and is expected to make his first appearance in Sampson County District Court Friday.
Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton praised the work of the deputy and pointed out the great valued of the Criminal Interdiction Team whose members, he said, were doing exactly the kinds of things he had hoped they’d be able to do.
“Look, these guys are trained to find those individuals out there trafficking and moving drugs. They know the tell-tell signs, the dead giveaways, and when they see those true indicators, they are all over that activity and trying to stop it,” Thornton stressed.
He pointed to Sunday’s arrest of a Raleigh man for trafficking in stolen identities and 29 counts of possession of counterfeit instruments as a good example of what the team can do.
It was a member of that team who made the stop on Pa Gibbi Njie Sunday that led to a laundry list of felonies and prevented cigarettes from being sold at high-dollar values in northern states and likely stopped the fraudulent use of credit cards.
“It’s a perfect example of how this team’s training makes a difference,” Thornton stressed. “Our goal is to get them off the street, whether they are from our county or passing through. This team is doing just that.”
Another traffic stop over the weekend ended with the seizure of over $6,000 in cash, money likely used in the trafficking of drugs or other illegal contraband.
“Although some of these individuals aren’t from Sampson County,” the sheriff said, “they were passing through here and the pose a potential danger here. In some cases, what they possess could be destined for here. Sometimes it’s not, but sometimes it could be. Either way, our job is to stop it and we’re doing that.”
Thornton pointed to the arrest of three Clinton residents in Georgia last week as yet another example of how law enforcement efforts in the city and county were a deterrent.
“You have to wonder why they were in Georgia. It tells me they couldn’t get it here and they were willing to go somewhere else to get it and transport it … because it wasn’t readily available here, and it’s not because people know we are out there and we’re looking for that kind of criminal element.”
Thornton said the county doesn’t have the same volume of drugs as it once had, and he credits the Criminal Interdiction Team for helping make that possible.
“People know that we are tuned in. Look at the meth problem. Five or seven years ago, you’d see us get a lot more volume at traffic stops, whether it was marijuana, cocaine, meth. You don’t see that so much anymore. And that’s a good thing.”
Thornton said it was to the credit of his team’s training and their visibility that less drug activity was taking place.
“It was our goal for this team to be visible and to be trained to look for the signs. They have been and they watch for it. We are taking them off our streets, and that’s what’s important.”