Drug suspect clings to life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 28, 2005

WINDSOR – A man wanted for questioning in regards to drug trafficking is now battling to remain alive in a Virginia hospital.

Christopher Lamont Williams of Windsor remains in the Intensive Care Unit of Norfolk (Va.) Sentura Hospital after allegedly ingesting drugs sought by officials with the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division.

Meanwhile, two other Windsor men, possibly connected with Williams, were jailed on drug charges.

According to Bertie Narcotics Detective Sgt. Frank Timberlake, the incident took place on Monday.

Acting on information that Williams was in possession of a large amount of crack cocaine, Timberlake and fellow Detective Kenny Gilliam went in search of Williams. Assistance was solicited from Patrolman Martin Phelps of the Windsor Police Department.

Within a few minutes, Phelps had Williams stopped on Broad Street. Receiving back-up from the Windsor Police Department and Bertie County Sheriff’s Office, Phelps began a search of Williams and the suspect’s vehicle.

In the meantime, Gilliam and Timberlake called in their newly added K-9 deputies &uot;Buddy&uot; and &uot;Dakota&uot; to assist in the search.

After a search of the vehicle and the person of Williams, no controlled substance was found.

Williams was released.

Gilliam and Timberlake continued on their search for the narcotics with Bertie Probation and Parole Officer Alton Brown.

Officer Brown, along with Windsor Police officers and the Bertie Sheriff’s deputies, conducted a search at the residence of Joe Willie Gilliam, 112 Bianka Ave., Windsor.

Joe Willie Gilliam is the stepfather of Christopher Williams.

Lawmen had received information that Williams was storing his cocaine at this residence.

Joe Willie Gilliam and another resident at the home, Kelvin Ray Jenkins, were both on active probation.

Within a few minutes after arriving at the residence, K-9 Deputy Dakota and handler, Bertie Sheriff’s Sgt. Charlie Harmon, were able to locate a plastic bag of cocaine, containing approximately one-quarter ounce of illegal drugs.

While officers continued to search the Bianka Ave. residence, the Bertie Sheriff’s Office dispatched rescue to a location on Broad Street for a person that appeared to be having a seizure.

&uot;I feared at that time that Mr. Williams may have ingested the cocaine we were originally looking for,&uot; Timberlake said.

Making their way back to Broad Street, detectives Gilliam and Timberlake witnessed Williams lying on the ground, fighting against his family members and rescue personal.

&uot;My fears came true,&uot; Timberlake noted. &uot;Myself and Kenny have experienced this type behavior in the past on persons who were overdosing on cocaine.&uot;

Williams was finally secured on a stretcher. While Windsor Police officers held the stoplights, rescue officials rushed Williams to the Bertie Memorial Hospital where he was found to be in critical condition and later transferred to Norfolk Sentura Hospital.

Back on Bianka Ave., law enforcement officers recovered, in addition to the cocaine, a set of digital scales and two weapons – a handgun and a sawed off rifle.

Joe Willie Gilliam and Jenkins were taken into custody.

Gilliam stands charged with one count of felonious possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, one count of maintaining a dwelling to store and sell a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $50,000 prior to incarceration at the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail.

Jenkins was jailed under a $20,000 bond on one count of felony probation violation, which includes having firearms and narcotics in his possession.

&uot;I would really like to thank all the officers that took part in this investigation,&uot; Timberlake said. &uot;Without their quick response and professional work effort, these arrests could not have taken place.&uot;

Timberlake closed by saying, &uot;As law enforcement officers, we never like to see anyone get hurt, but this is yet one more example of how dangerous illegal drugs can be.&uot;

Timberlake said the investigation continues into the case and more arrests are likely.