Category Archives: Beaufort

Carteret drug enforcement efforts lead to more convictions

SCOTT E. THOMAS
DISTRICT ATTORNEY

Beaufort, North Carolina – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced the following defendants charged in ongoing Carteret County drug enforcement efforts entered guilty pleas prior to their cases being called for trial this week. The convictions were obtained during a special session of court, requested by District Attorney Thomas to address the caseload created by vigorous law enforcement efforts to counter illegal drug transactions. Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Ben Alford presided over this special session of court, and the cases were prosecuted in court by Assistant District Attorney David Spence.

MARIO JONES, 36, of Newport, pled guilty to Attempted Trafficking in Opiates, and admitted his status as an Habitual Felon. Judge Alford sentenced Jones to a prison sentence of 105 to 138 months. Jones had three prior convictions for Felony Breaking and Entering, and prior drug convictions. Jones assisted co-defendant Dwayne McCoo in supplying oxycodone tablets to an undercover informant working with an investigator with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office in October, 2015.


KANDICE KAHLEY, 33, of Beaufort, pled guilty to Trafficking in Opiates and received an active prison sentence of 70 to 93 months. Kahley sold oxycodone tablets to an undercover informant working with a detective with the Morehead City Police Department in October, 2015. The transaction took place in the parking lot of the Wal- Mart in Morehead City. Kahley and co-defendant Phillip Thackston fled to Indiana and had to be extradited back to North Carolina to face these charges. Thackston pled guilty last month and received a prison sentence of 70 to 146 months.


MIKAEL DEWAIN DIXON, 44, of Newport, pled guilty to Trafficking in Opiates and twelve other lesser felony drug offenses, and received an active prison term of 70 to 93 months. Dixon sold oxycodone tablets to an undercover informant working with investigators with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office in June and July, 2015.


MICHAEL JOHNSON, 45, of Beaufort, pled guilty to Sale and Delivery of Oxycodone, and received an active prison sentence of 13 to 25 months. Johnson sold five tablets to an undercover informant working with the Morehead City Police Department. Johnson was already on a probationary sentence when he committed this offense, and the probationary sentence of 14 to 26 months was activated, and the sentences were ordered to run consecutively to each other.


PATRICK JONES, 26, of Beaufort, pled guilty to Sale of Heroin and was sentenced to a prison term of 15 to 29 months. The sale took place in March, 2016, at the Dutch Treat Mobile Home Park in Newport, where Jones sold 10 bindles of heroin to an undercover informant working with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office.


JAMES KING, 31, of Havelock, pled guilty to Sale of Heroin and was sentenced to a term of 11 to 23 months in prison. King sold heroin to an informant working with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, and the transaction took place in the parking lot of Gil’s Market in Newport, in December, 2015.


ANDRE MELVIN, 33, of New Bern, pled guilty to Possession with Intent to Sell or Deliver Cocaine, and received an active prison sentence of 6 to 17 months. Melvin was arrested after being found passed out behind the wheel of his car at the Speedway Mart in Newport. An officer with the Newport Police Department responded, and arrested Melvin for Resisting a Public Officer after Melvin gave the officer false identifying information. The officer located two bags of cocaine on Melvin during a search incident to arrest for the resisting charge. Melvin also faces drug charges in Craven County, where he is scheduled for trial next week.


MADELINE DARE JOHNSON, 27, of Morehead City, pled guilty to Sale of Heroin and six other felony offenses related to the sale of heroin in March 2015 and March 2016 to informants working with the Morehead City Police Department. Judge Alford sentenced Johnson to an active prison sentence of 8 to 19 months, followed by another sentence of 70 to 140 months which he suspended, and placed Johnson on supervised probation for five years, once she is released from prison.

Seven other defendants also pled guilty to felony drug charges during this special term of court, and received suspended sentences, based upon the circumstances of each case and the defendants’ lack of prior criminal record.

Search Warrant at Convenience Store Leads to Owner’s Arrest

Taisser Tawfiq Shehadeh

Beaufort, NC – (February 13, 2017) On February 10 at approximately 12:30 pm, detectives with the Carteret County Drug Task force and North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement executed a search warrant at 4525 NC-101, Havelock, NC, Asmar Convenience Store – formerly Nadine’s Food Mart, for evidence related to the distribution of illegal narcotics from the business.

Detectives seized “crack” cocaine (more than one ounce – 33.5 grams), marijuana, counterfeit controlled substances, and drug paraphernalia that were being sold from the business. At the conclusion of the search, detectives charged and arrested the owner of Asmar Convenience Store, 52-year-old Taisser Tawfiq Shehadeh, 5504 Yates Garden Lane, Raleigh, NC, for three counts of felony trafficking in cocaine; one count each for maintaining a place for selling a controlled substance; felony possession with the intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana; felony manufacturing of marijuana; possession of controlled substances on a licensed premises; criminal use of a counterfeit controlled substance by offering for retail sale herbal Viagra; possession of glass tubes for retail sale without complying with NC general statue; and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Buck stated, “When we talk about drug dealers in our county it’s common to think about individuals selling drugs out of their homes, but here we are standing in the parking lot of a business where the owner is engaged in illegal drug sales.”

“If you go into a store in Carteret County and they are selling what appears to be drug paraphernalia, I’d suggest not doing business with that store anymore,” Sheriff Buck added.’

Shehadeah was transported to the Carteret County Jail and was issued a
$100,000 secured bond. Shehadeah is scheduled to appear in a Carteret County courtroom on Monday, February 13 for a first appearance on the charges.

Beaufort man found deceased

On Monday, 02/06/2017 at approximately 9:30am Carteret County deputies along with Beaufort Fire & Rescue and North River Fire Department responded to the 600 block of Merrimon Road outside of Beaufort after an inmate work crew cleaning the roadside discovered a body in a ditch.

Deputies determined the man to be 66-year-old Sidney Tate Jr of Marshall Lane, Beaufort. Tate, who was known for walking up and down Merrimon Road, was found less than a quarter mile from his home. Tate was discovered in a small ditch of water near Isaac Murray Drive but there were no obvious signs of trauma to the body. Tate’s next of kin have been notified
and the incident is under further investigation pending an autopsy.

Carteret County Felony Drug Convictions

SCOTT E. THOMAS
DISTRICT ATTORNEY
State of North Carolina
General Court of Justice Prosecutorial District Three B

Beaufort, North Carolina – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced the following felony drug convictions obtained by his office during this week’s Carteret County Superior Court term, with Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Ben Alford presiding. The cases were prosecuted in court by Assistant District Attorney David Spence.

Cox

ROBERT EARL COX, 59, of Newport, pled guilty to one count of Trafficking in Methamphetamine, and two counts of Sale of Methamphetamine, and was sentenced to a prison term of 70 to 93 months. COX was arrested on July 3, 2015, by detectives with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office after execution of a search warrant at his house in Newport. The sales were both to a confidential informant in June, 2015. Judge Alford also imposed a $ 50,000 fine on COX. COX faces additional charges in Craven County.

Allegretti

EDWARD ALLEGRETTI, 62, of Morehead City, was convicted of one count of Trafficking in Opiates and received a prison sentence of 70 to 93 months. ALLEGRETTI sold 4.26 grams of Hydrocodone to an informant working with the Morehead City Police Department, on November 26, 2014. Judge Alford imposed a $ 50,000 fine on ALLEGRETTI, also.

Bostwick

GEORGE BRYAN BOSTWICK, 29, of Newport, pled guilty to two counts of Sale of Heroin to an informant working with the Morehead City Police Department and the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office. The sales occurred in December, 2015. Judge Alford sentenced BOSTWICK to two consecutive prison terms of 13 to 25 months each.

Adams

CLARA MELISSA ADAMS, 45, of Newport, pled guilty to two counts of Sale of Oxycodone to an undercover informant working with the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office in July, 2015. Judge Alford sentenced ADAMS to two consecutive 12 to 24 month prison terms.

Guilty verdict in Carteret bar fight case

Gomola

Beaufort, North Carolina – District Attorney Scott Thomas announced that a Carteret County jury convicted STEPHEN PAUL GOMOLA, 26, of Morehead City, of Involuntary Manslaughter, following a week-long trial in Carteret County Superior Court. Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Ben Alford presided over the trial.

GOMOLA was charged with Involuntary Manslaughter after a July 4, 2013, fight outside Jack’s Waterfront Bar in Morehead City. GOMOLA punched Stephen Johnson at one point, and Johnson fell into the water and drowned. Rescue divers recovered his body.

The case was first tried in 2015, but resulted in a mistrial. This week’s trial began on Monday, and the jury began its deliberations at 2:00 this afternoon. They returned their guilty verdict after a little more than an hour’s deliberations.

Judge Alford sentenced GOMOLA to a prison term of 16 to 29 months, and ordered that GOMOLA pay a $ 10,000 fine and the funeral expenses of the victim.

District Attorney Scott Thomas said, “We are pleased the jury returned a verdict of guilty. We believed all along the evidence supported this decision by the jury. The defendant’s conduct was dangerous and resulted in a death. Assistant District Attorney Spence, Investigator Evans, and Legal Assistant Gillikin did a great job preparing this case and presenting it to the jury. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Johnson family as they continue to deal with the loss of their son.”

The case was prosecuted in court by Assistant District Attorney David Spence, with Legal Assistant Michelle Gillikin. Morehead City Police Department Investigator Lyle Evans headed the investigation.

State’s top child porn downloader arrested

NEWS1-Child-Porn-John-Franklin-BrownTOWN OF BEAUFORT – On July 7, Carteret County deputies arrested John Franklin Brown, 45, of 504 Carteret Ave, Apt F, Carteret Court Apartments in Beaufort in connection with possession of child pornography after a one year undercover operation by several agencies.

Members of the North Carolina Internet Crimes against Children Task Force have been monitoring the child porn downloads directly from Brown’s computer for the past year. According to the Task Force’s law enforcement software – utilized to monitor and classify IP addresses accessing child porn activity — Brown was considered North Carolina’s number one child porn downloader with over 800 images in his shared folder.

Brown was investigated by detectives from Beaufort to as far west as Carthage in Moore County. Carteret County detectives coordinated the investigation along with the Internet Crimes against Children task force, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Havelock Police, Beaufort Police and the Moore County Sheriffs Office. The investigation took over a year partly due to the number of unsecured wireless networks Brown was utilizing.

The Internet Crimes against Children task force utilizes undercover software which monitors targeted internet addresses for activity like that of Brown. Carteret County Detective John Guerry is a member of ICAC and coordinated the investigation locally. All the members of this task force work well together all over the state and are willing to provide assistance to catch an offender.

This was the case with Brown when his software launched in Carthage while he was attending a landscaping conference at a golf resort. An ICAC member with the Moore County Sheriffs Office noticed a tagged address pop up on his computer and noticed it was currently being investigated by several agencies. It was this break investigators needed to tie both addresses together and then link it to Brown.

Detectives said Brown was cooperative during the execution of a search warrant and he surrendered his computer and external hard drive without incident. The computer and hard drive has been undergoing an extensive forensic scan at the SBI’s computer lab in Raleigh. Despite Brown’s cooperation and admissions in the case, investigators are still in the process of recovering each of the files as evidence.

Sheriff Asa Buck said “Those who view and share pornographic pictures and videos of children contribute to the continual exploitation and victimization of the most innocent and helpless in our society. These offenders should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I commend all of the agencies and officers who worked this case in order to catch this suspect and bring his activity to an end.”

Brown was charged with three counts of Second-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a minor and twelve counts of Third-Degree Sexual Exploitation of a minor. Brown is currently being held in the Carteret County Jail under a $500,000 bond made is first appearance in the Carteret County judicial system on July 8. scheduled for his first appearance on Wednesday, 07/08/2015. As additional evidence is recovered Brown could face more charges.

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Handle Bar parade something to brag about

By Jeff Aydelette | Staff Writer

PAGE-9-Logo-imageBEAUFORT – The Handle Bar, well known in this town for fun, frivolity, and of course drinking, hosts what the club bills as “The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.”

The event, scheduled for 3 p.m. on Monday, March 17, features Tammy Dorantich, who will lead the procession riding her huge Bergeron. The massive white horse weighs a whopping 2,400 pounds, and responds to the affectionate name of ‘Tiny.’

Whatever you do, don’t lift the necktie of the stuffed toy Leprechaun. The little guy with PAGE-9-Leprechaun-picone large working part has become something of a legend whenever St. Patrick’s Day rolls around.

Two years ago, the Handle Bar was bumped from its long-term location near the town’s drawbridge. Making way for a new high rise put owners Carol and Danny in a bit of a quandary, as they cast about town for a new location.

They finally settled on a Wellons Road location – well back from heavily traveled Hwy. 70. However, the new spot is easy to find. Just turn at the Hess Station and head straight. Everyone’s invited to the parade. Don’t be late. After all, the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade won’t last long.

BP station robbed in Carteret County

Armed suspect fled on foot

Special to the County Compass

NEWS1-Robbery-website-postTOWN OF BEAUFORT – Law enforcement officials have confirmed an armed robbery, which occurred Monday night at approximately 10:50 p.m. (ten minutes prior to closing), at the Zingo Express BP convenient store located at 2559 Hwy 101 near the Town of Beaufort.

The solo suspect came into the store covered from head to toe. The suspect was armed with what appeared to be a handgun and demanded money from the clerk. No one was hurt and the suspect fled on foot with an undetermined amount of cash.

Anyone with information is asked to call Carteret County Crime Stoppers at (252) 726-INFO or the Sheriff’s Office at (252) 504-4800.  Surveillance video is being reviewed and has revealed this image, which shows the suspect behind the counter.

Officials have not released the race of the suspect, but do believe the suspect is likely a male based on verbal commands made during the crime.