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Wilmington has a population of about 115,000 residents. If you drive about 90 miles north, you will come to Jones County, which has a population of about 10,000 – one of the least populous counties in North Carolina.

Perhaps the sparse population accounts for some of the chest-thumping in a recent statement from the sheriff there about drug arrests made in Jones County over the past year. More than 30 arrests in an effort dubbed “Operation the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” the sheriff said, listing seizures of illegal substances that would generously be considered modest anywhere else.

Since February 2019, Jones County law enforcement officers have seized approximately $12,000 of crystal meth, $50,000 worth of heroin, $1,500 of crack cocaine and $9,000 worth of marijuana.

When you divide those totals by 30, you can quickly determine that the average Jones County suspect was not believed to be involved in operations that could be considered large-scale in Wilmington or most other parts of the state.

Nevertheless, all drug crime charges must be taken seriously by defendants because the potential punishments in our state are harsh. Among those arrested were the following:

  • February 2019: a Pink Hill man was charged with the sale and delivery of crystal meth after he was found to be in possession of 11.5 grams of the substance.
  • March: a New Bern man and Jacksonville woman were arrested on drug charges; he’s facing a meth possession charge, among others, while she’s accused of marijuana possession and more. Bail was set at $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.
  • April: a Maysville resident was charged with felony sale and delivery of heroin as well conspiracy to traffic in heroin – among the most serious allegations in the operation. Bail was set at $500,000.
    October: a Trenton man was charged with felony possession of cocaine.
    December: a Kinston man was charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver and held under a $3,000 secured bond.

None of the allegations are to be waved off. All could result in time behind bars after convictions. Those possibilities make it important for those facing these kinds of allegations to speak to an attorney experienced in drug defense before talking to prosecutors or investigators.