Room check nets pot arrest

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 13, 2005

AHOSKIE n A routine housekeeping procedure at an Ahoskie motel led to a drug arrest here Thursday morning.

Jason Jerome Barnes, 27, of 1146 NC 561, Ahoskie, was scheduled to make his first court appearance yesterday (Friday). He was being held under a $40,000 secured bond in the Hertford County Jail on the charges of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, maintaining a vehicle to keep and sell a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Troy Fitzhugh, Chief of the Ahoskie Police Department, said his office received a call around 9 a.m. on Thursday from the Tomahawk Motel, located on Academy Street. The caller said the housekeeping service at the motel had noticed what appeared to be marijuana in one of the rooms.

"Apparently, the person or persons occupying that room had yet to checkout, so we were hopeful they would return," Fitzhugh said.

The Chief added that according to the information at the motel's registration desk, the room was rented to Barnes.

APD Lt. Jeanette Mathias and Detective Sgt. Jeremy Roberts arrived at the motel at 9:11 a.m. where they entered the room in question. There, according to Lt. Mathias, two small bags of marijuana, a set of digital scales and drug paraphernalia were in plain view on the nightstand next to the bed. She added that cigar wrappers littered the floor of the room, apparently signaling that the occupant was manufacturing "blunts" n a street name for marijuana mixed with cigar tobacco.

Nearly seven grams of marijuana was located in the room

APD officers Larry Belangia and Kenneth Mizelle were summoned for surveillance. That work paid off when, a little over one hour later, a vehicle entered the motel parking lot and parked in front of the room in question. The vehicle was occupied by three individuals.

"At this time, officers Belangia and Mizelle approached the vehicle and began questioning the driver (Barnes) and the passengers," Fitzhugh said.

Armed with the knowledge that drugs were found in the room rented by Barnes, the two officers placed him under arrest. Subsequent to the arrest, Barnes was searched where two additional bags of marijuana n containing a combined 117.8 grams, were found in his pants pockets.

The two passengers were released after questioning.

"I commend my officers for their work in this case," Fitzhugh said. "We will continue, with the help of the citizens of Ahoskie, to continue with our efforts to arrest those who come into this town and push this poison."