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K-9 aids in drug arrests

WINDSOR – Chalk-up another arrest for Bertie County's latest weapon against crime n a drug-sniffing dog.

Last week, the Narcotics Division of the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office arrested a pair of Windsor residents on multiple drug charges.

Julius Derrick Swain, 27, of 1626 Cooper Hill Road, was detained at Bertie-Martin Regional Jail under an $80,000 secured bond on the charges of possession with intent to sell crack cocaine and maintaining a dwelling as a place to keep, store and sell crack cocaine.

Meanwhile, Demetrice Ann Peele, 25, of 177 Cooper Hill Road was jailed under a $5,000 secured bond. Peele was charged with possession of crack cocaine and maintaining a dwelling as a place to keep, store and sell crack cocaine.

A third person, 43-year-old Tony Raph Whitaker of 148 Cooper Hill Road, was also charged in the incident. He was arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Aug. 30 arrests occurred when BCSO Narcotics Division officers, Detective Sgt. Frank Timberlake and Detective Kenny Gilliam, conducted a controlled substance violation investigation concerning Julius Swain. According to Timberlake, this investigation began because of citizens complaints.

After conducting an investigation stemming from the complaints, Timberlake and Gilliam applied for and received a search warrant for the person of Julius Swain, Demetrice Peele and their residence at 177 Cooper Hill Road. 

While on the way to serve the search warrant for the residence, Windsor Police Detective Herman Purvis located Swain in a yard just up the street from Swain's residence.

"Mr. Swain was standing and talking to a Tony Raph Whitaker, whose residence was located at 148 Cooper Hill Road, Windsor," Timberlake said.

"Whitaker was working on repairing Swain's moped."

Swain was detained and taken to the search location.

Officers, while detaining Swain, conducted a search

on Whitaker and a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia was discovered, leading to his arrest.

After serving the search warrant on the residence of Swain and Peele at 177 Cooper Hill Road, officers call one of their newest deputies, K-9 Deputy "Dakota" and his handler, Bertie Sheriff's Sgt. Charlie Harmon. Within a few minutes, according to Timberlake, "Dakota" pointed out three locations. Two were where cocaine packaged for sell was located.  The third was a DVD case that contained marijuana.

Additionally, $316 was taken off the person of Swain. 

"There is just no way to express how much of a difference the newly added K-9 units have made to the Narcotics Division," Timberlake noted.  "Charlie Harmon and K-9 ‘Dakota' along with Frank Massey and his K-9 ‘Buddy' are really to be commended for their efforts.  These two guys have volunteered their time and their pets to make Bertie County a safer place to live and raise a family."

Bertie Sheriff Greg Atkins agreed.

"In rural areas such as Bertie County, having a broad range of resources like the ones found in large cities are hard to come by," Atkins noted. "However, that doesn't stop us from being inventive in our approach to law enforcement. Our new K-9 units are a testament to that fact. They are a vital resource to the law enforcement community here in Bertie County as we continue to rid our county of those who choose to push their drugs on our citizens, thus disrupting lives with the poison they spread." 

Timberlake noted that Swain has an extensive criminal history for the sale of cocaine and marijuana.

"It's thanks to the brave citizens who took a stand to report the drug activity which gave us the information we needed to make the arrest," Timberlake said.  "Without the citizens, arrests like this would not be possible."