A Conover man will serve at least 11 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of trafficking opium/heroin by possession during Burke County Superior Court last Wednesday (September 13).
24-year-old Devin Andrew Yancey was given an active prison term of 11 to 15 years by the Honorable Robert C. Ervin, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, following his plea. In addition, Judge Ervin assessed a mandatory fine of $50,000 for Yancey.
On April 8, 2016, a vehicle operated by Yancey was stopped for drifting back and forth across the center line by Officer Justin Walker of Morganton Department of Public Safety. While searching Yancey’s person for an arrest on active warrants for other charges, the officer discovered a large plastic bag of assorted pills in the defendant’s pocket. A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up a small pill flask with more assorted pills. Nearly half of the pills turned out to be Oxymorphone, a Schedule II Controlled Substance.
Six months later, in October, Isaac Propst of Burke County Sheriff’s Office came into contact with concerned citizens who said they saw individuals inside a house where the owners were known to be out of town. The officer saw Yancey look out one of the windows and close the blinds quickly. Propst demanded Yancey and another individual come out of the house.
A search turned up a plastic bag and unlabeled bottle of narcotics, both containing whole pills and crushed white powder that tested positive as Oxymorphone. Scott Lanning and Aaron Moore of the Burke County Narcotics Task Force investigated the cases. Assistant District Attorney Lance Sigmon handled prosecution for the State.
18-year-old Ahmad Shaakim Smith of 1st Street NW, 18-year-old Robert Dijuan Nelson Jr. of 10th Avenue Drive SE, and 19-year-old Nicholas Troy Conley of 20th Street NE, all from Hickory were all arrested Sunday (September 17) by Hickory Police Officers. Smith is charged with felony counts of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver schedule IV controlled substance. Smith is also charged with misdemeanor counts of carrying a concealed gun, possession of drug paraphernalia, and maintaining a vehicle, dwelling, or place to keep controlled substance. Nelson is charged with felony possession of controlled substance, felony probation violation, and two counts of resist, delay, and obstruct an officer, and Conley is charged with felony and misdemeanor counts of possession of controlled substance.
On Sunday (September 17) at approximately 3 a.m., Hickory Police Officers responded to a convenience store on Springs Road NE after receiving a call in reference to a possible impaired driver. Officers found the vehicle in the business parking lot. The driver, Ahmad Smith, was in possession of 2.3 grams of marijuana and eight dosage units of Xanax. Two passengers, Nelson and Conley, were also charged.
Smith was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $25,000 secured bond. Nelon's bond was is $27,500 secured and Conley's bond was set at $1,500 secured. Smith and Conley were scheduled to appear in court today (September 18). Nelson has a court date October 10.
22-year-old Austin Lee Barnette of Kistler Lane in Granite Falls was arrested Sunday (September 17) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony counts of breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering. Barnette was incarcerated in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $100,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (September 18).
37-year-old Michael Stephen Cole of West Shannon Road in Siler City was arrested Sunday (September 17) by Lenoir Police Officers. He's charged with felony counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell, or deliver schedule IV controlled substance and maintain a vehicle or dwelling for controlled substance. Cole is also charged with failure to appear. He was detained in the Caldwell County Detention Center under $200,000 secured bond. A District Court appearance was scheduled for today (September 18).
26-year-old Jordan Bradford Armstrong of Anderson Mountain Road in Maiden was arrested Saturday (September 16) by Catawba County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged on bills of indictment with two counts of the sale of heroin, and single counts of delivery of heroin and possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver heroin. Armstrong was jailed in the Catawba County Detention Facility under $25,000 bond. A Superior Court appearance was scheduled for today (September 18).
Firefighters responded to a house fire in Catawba County Saturday. According to published reports, responders worked for approximately an hour to control the residential fire on Whitener Road Saturday afternoon (September 16).
According to the published reports, a spokesperson from the Propst Crossroads Fire Department said nobody was home at the time of the fire. There were no injuries as a result of the blaze. Multiple fire departments from Catawba County reportedly responded to the fire, in addition to the Union Fire Department from Lincoln County.
The cause of the fire is unknown. The Fire Marshal's Office is investigating.
The superintendent of the Caldwell County Schools has announced he will retire at the end of the school year. Dr. Steve Stone made the announcement at a special called meeting of principals, administrators, and Education Center Staff. Dr. Stone will retire effective June 30, 2018.
June will mark 12 years of service in the Caldwell County School System and 20 years as a superintendent, which ranks Dr. Stone as the second longest tenured superintendent in North Carolina. Prior to coming to Caldwell County, Dr. Stone served four years as superintendent in Edgecombe County and four in Hertford County. June 30 will mark 38 years in public education for Steve Stone.
Stone grew up in Person County in eastern North Carolina. He received his Bachelors Degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his Masters Degree from UNC Charlotte, and his Doctorate from NC State. Dr. Stone was selected as 2014 Superintendent of the Year for the Northwest RESA.
The Caldwell County Board of Education will hold a special meeting on September 26 to begin discussion on the hiring of a new superintendent.
Joshua Alan Ruch and Erin Olivia Shell are both wanted by Hickory Police. Ruch was allegedly involved in an attempted robbery at about 8 p.m. Wednesday (September 13) in the parking lot at the Walmart store on Highway 70 S.E. in Hickory. During the robbery, Ruch displayed a handgun and demanded money from the victim.
Ruch is wanted on multiple outstanding warrants for resisting a public officer, two counts of trafficking in methamphetamine, possession with intent to sell & deliver marijuana and two counts of robbery. Police say Ruch is often in the company of Erin Olivia Shell, who is also wanted on a charge of felony larceny of a motor vehicle.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of Joshua Ruch or Erin Shell should call Hickory Police at 828-328-5551 or contact Inv. Carlos De Los Santos at 828-261-2621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
22-year-old James Cody Peters was arrested today (September 15) by Burke County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony non-forced breaking and entering, felony larceny after B&E, possession of stolen goods, and probation violation. Peters was placed in jail in Morganton under $25,000 secured bond. A court appearance is scheduled for Monday (September 18).
31-year-old Tracie Slayton Worley of Kristen Lane in Hudson was arrested Thursday (September 14) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. She's charged with felony larceny by employee. Worley was given a custody release. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Monday (September 18).
62-year-old Eddie Lee Kirk of Laytown Road in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (September 14) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with trafficking in methamphetamine. Kirk was given a custody release. A District Court appearance is scheduled for Monday (September 18).
29-year-old Demareo Whitley of Charlotte pleaded guilty to possession of stolen firearms in Caldwell County Superior Court yesterday (September 14). He was also sentenced as an habitual felon. The Honorable Daniel A. Kuehnert, Superior Court Judge from Burke County, handed down an active prison term of six-to-nine years. Whitley will serve his prison time in the custody of the North Carolina Division of Adult Corrections.
Whitley’s habitual felon status is the result of prior felony convictions in Mecklenburg County for conspiracy to commit common law robbery, breaking & entering and larceny of a motor vehicle.
Whitley was the third and final co-defendant connected to a break-in at a southern Caldwell County business. At about 4 a.m. on September 7 of last year, Hickory Police responded to a security alarm at Precision Sports, 4994 Hickory Boulevard. Surveillance videos from the business showed a break-in with numerous guns stolen.
A tip from Charlotte led to an examination of cell phone records involving calls between Whitley and two other individuals. Hickory Police Forensic Analyst Matt Rogers’ findings led to the recovery of some of the guns, which were identified by the business owners as the stolen weapons.
In March of this year, Demarco Lamont McDowell and Deveion Eugene Johnson also pleaded guilty to their involvement in the crimes. They are currently serving their prison sentences.
Jeff Pruett and John Patterson led the investigation for the Hickory Police Department, with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives. Assistant District Attorney Nancy Lee prosecuted the case.
56-year-old Richard Ray Stephenson of Beckys Drive in Lenoir was arrested Thursday (September 14) by Caldwell County Sheriff's Officers. He's charged with felony possession with intent to manufacture, sell, and deliver marijuana. Stephenson was given a custody release. A Superior Court appearance is scheduled for October 30.
43-year-old Jennifer Deanne McMahan of Terrell Drive in Old Fort was arrested Wednesday (September 13) by Morganton Public Safety Officers. She's charged with felony flee to elude arrest.
Wednesday at around 5:50 p.m., Public Safety responded to the Morganton Heights Shopping Center for a larceny at the Belk Store. Officers located the suspect vehicle on West Fleming Drive turning onto Golf Course Road. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle the suspect fled onto Hopewell Road.
The driver, later identified as Jennifer Deanne McMahan, led officers on a 26 mile chase ending in McDowell County off of Tatertown Road. Speeds reached in excess of 90 mph. The chase started in the city limits of Morganton and continued into Burke County, through the town of Glen Alpine, then back into the county on Highway 70 West. Officers pursued McMahan into McDowell County where McDowell County Deputies assisted with her arrest.
McMahan was served with multilple outstanding warrants from surrounding Counties such as McDowell and Catawba. She was placed in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Facility under $19,000 secured bond. A first appearance in Burke County District Court was scheduled for Thursday (September 14).