30 pounds of drugs found

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 22, 2005

GATESVILLE – Gates County Sheriff’s Deputies made the biggest drug bust the county has ever seen early Friday morning, confiscating almost 30 pounds of marijuana with a street value of $136,200.

Two black males are charged with trafficking an illegal substance, possession with intent to sell and deliver, felony possession of marijuana and maintaining a vehicle on felony possession.

The suspects, 37-year old Leighton Daniel Anderson of Stone Mountain, Ga., and 40-year old Winston Douglas Anderson of Lewiston, N.C., are being held in the Chowan County Jail under a $200,000 bond until they face a judge on July 25.

Sheriff Edward Webb said the men were captured as a result of a traffic stop that took place around 12:30 a.m. Friday.

The two suspects, purportedly cousins, were observed by sheriff’s deputies traveling at a high rate of speed on Highway 37, just outside Gatesville. Deputy Richard Haynes ran a background check on the men after deputies called their license information in to Central Dispatch.

&uot;Deputy Daroyll Brown learned that the individuals involved in drug related offenses,&uot; said Sheriff Webb. &uot;In the interview while Deputy Brown was issuing a citation for speeding, backup assistance arrived on the scene.&uot;

That backup consisted of Probation Officer David Brown, who is also a County Commissioner, and the officers began looking around the vehicle, a 2005 Toyota Tacoma, after asking for consent to search from the suspects. The two officers found 10, one pound bags of marijuana in the vehicle, and immediately had it taken to the parking lot directly behind the sheriff’s office. It was their intent to perform a thorough search of the vehicle.

The suspects may have thought they had the rest of the marijuana well-hidden but they didn’t count on the nose of &uot;Canine Kal,&uot; better know around the Sheriff’s Office as &uot;The Kalvinator.&uot; His handler, Deputy Sergeant Johnnie Wiggins, said that once Kal gets a whiff of any type of drug, he alerts on it until it’s found.

Kal, a K-9 Officer, could smell the drugs but couldn’t get other officers to understand exactly where the odor was coming from.

&uot;What people don’t understand is the ‘scent cone’ that a K-9 officer uses when he’s working a drug scene,&uot; said Sgt. Wiggins. &uot;The drugs may be in one location but it takes a while for a K-9 officer to work through the scent to get to them.&uot;

Since Kal was not about to stand down on this alert, the deputies, including Deputy Glynda Parker, kept searching the vehicle until they found it hidden inside the wheel wells where the suspects had built a box shaped container to transport it.

&uot;This is the largest amount of marijuana I’ve seen in all my years in law enforcement,&uot; said Sgt. Wiggins. &uot;They thought they would bring their drugs to sell in Gates County but we are calling this incident &uot;Operation Broken Chain.’ I am also very proud of Officer K-9 Kal.&uot;

Deputy Parker also said she was amazed when she first saw all the bags of marijuana taken from the vehicle.

&uot;I’ve never seen so much in one place,&uot; she said. &uot;They had packaged it up into plastic zip lock bags and then used one of those food saver heat sealer machines to enclose it further so that barely any odor leaked through. Kal did a great job sniffing it out and we are very pleased that these drugs are off the streets where they can’t hurt our youth.&uot;

Sheriff Webb added that the investigation into this drug seizure continues. He said that he’s contacted the FBI since the Sheriff’s Deputies found checks from five separate accounts in banks across three states.

The suspects had no weapons; however, the deputies did confiscate $1,000 cash and about $4,500 in traveler’s checks. Once the investigation is settled, the Gates County Sheriff’s Office may receive a portion of the confiscated funds and the value of the Toyota. Those funds will be used to purchase equipment and pay for training for the sheriff’s deputies.