Thursday, August 01, 2013 11:17 PM
Police arrest 12 on drug charges
Fourteen suspects still wanted in second phase of drug roundup
By Corey Friedman | Times Online Editor
Police put a dozen drug suspects in handcuffs Thursday as they rolled out the second phase of their summer crackdown on the Wilson drug trade.
Twelve of 26 suspects wanted on drug possession and sale charges had been caught Thursday evening, with officers scouring the streets for the remaining 14. Commanders dubbed the blitz Part II of the police department’s Operation Safe Summer campaign.
"We’re dedicated to making sure the summer is safe for all in our community, and we’re clearly sending a message to all those who are dealing or in possession of narcotics that it will not be tolerated,” Maj. Craig Smith said. "We will continue operations like this to ensure safety, health and welfare for the entire community.”
Two police officers knocked on the front door of a single-story home with cream-colored vinyl siding and spoke with a woman who answered the door. She disappeared inside the house, and moments later, 37-year-old Bruce Lee Gaskins emerged on the front porch.
Officers cuffed Gaskins’ hands behind his back and walked him to a waiting patrol car. He was arrested on a charge of selling or delivering marijuana, and Detective Amanda Escamilla clutched a small bag of marijuana that Gaskins allegedly had with him when police arrived.
More than two-dozen officers participated in the drug roundup. The Wilson Police Department’s Vice/Narcotics Unit prepared a list of 25 drug suspects (one name was added during the operation for a total of 26) and officers from the Problem-Oriented Response Team and Strategic Traffic Enforcement Patrol helped make the arrests along with patrol officers, park rangers and officers assigned to Barton College.
"It’s a continued effort to keep our summer safe,” said Sgt. Jeff Boykin, a supervisor in the vice/narcotics unit. "We’re going to be relentless with keeping drug dealers off the streets in Wilson.”
Officers met at the police department for an 8 a.m. briefing and fanned out across the city. Most arrests in such roundups are made in the opening hours, as suspects often alert accomplices that police are seeking drug offenders.
Thursday’s operation was no exception, with six of the 12 arrestees captured in the first 36 minutes.
Charged with selling or delivering cocaine are 30-year-old Antwan Borica’s Guion, 42-year-old Marcus Anthony Carr, 29-year-old Victor Lamont Melvin, 46-year-old Billy Ray Bullock, 34-year-old Bernard Devon Williams and 24-year-old Shabazz Seante Atkinson.
Along with Gaskins, 30-year-old Vincent Dodsen and 30-year-old Brandon Donnell Farmer face charges of selling or delivering marijuana.
Oliver O’Brien Thorne, 44, was arrested on a charge of felony cocaine possession, 28-year-old Terrance Anthony Moore faces a charge of selling or delivering a Schedule I controlled substance and 22-year-old Dustin Tyler Morgan was charged with possession of heroin.
North Carolina probation and parole officers teamed up with police to serve warrants on suspects who were on active probation.
Police Chief Thomas Hopkins said last month that the crackdown on drug sales and possession in Wilson will continue throughout the summer.
"We’re hoping it will send a message that the police department and citizens are not going to tolerate them out there selling drugs in the streets and on the corners,” Hopkins said. "Just because school is out doesn’t mean they’re going to have another avenue to get the kids, because we’re out there as well.”
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