Convicted drug dealer arrested for third time

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 12, 2006

AULANDER – Alton Larchon Whitaker just struck out.

Bertie County law enforcement officials have promised to seek federal intervention into a case involving Whitaker, a 30-year-old Aulander man with an extensive history of drug-related arrests.

Whitaker’s latest arrest came Tuesday at his residence located at 405 Chestnut Street. There, “Buddy” n a specially trained canine capable of finding drugs n sniffed out an ounce of crack cocaine.

At the time of his arrest, Whitaker was on probation for a previous conviction of possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, according to Detective Sgt. Frank Timberlake of the Bertie Sheriff’s Narcotics Division. Timberlake added that Whitaker is currently out on bond stemming from a second arrest on the same charges.

“Mr. Whitaker is no stranger to Bertie County law enforcement officers and the court system,” Timberlake noted.

Acting upon complaints from those residing in Whitaker’s neighborhood, Timberlake and Aulander Police Chief Jimmy Barmer launched an investigation. Aided by Bertie County Community Corrections (Probation and Parole officers), a search was conducted of Whitaker’s residence at 8:15 p.m. on Aug. 8.

Timberlake said that within minutes of entering the residence, “Buddy” (handled by Community Corrections officer Frank Massey) was able to sniff out cocaine hidden in a light fixture located in the master bathroom.

Whitaker was placed under arrest, charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, trafficking in cocaine by possession and maintaining a dwelling to keep, store and sell a controlled substance. He is currently incarcerated in the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail under a $500,000 cash bond.

Timberlake said that in addition to the drugs, a further search of the residence revealed $250 in currency, a walkie-talkie and a cell phone.

Bertie Sheriff Greg Atkins said repeat offenders are not uncommon, but not normally this close to the date of a previous arrest.

“One would think following an arrest for selling drugs, it would lead that person to believe that we here in Bertie County do not tolerate that type of behavior,” Atkins said. “This is the third time in 18 months that we’ve been to this residence. Hopefully the message we leave this time will be loud and clear.”

Due to Whitaker’s previous arrests and conviction, it is expected that his case will be turned over to federal authorities.

“We will try and take this case one step further this time around in order to ensure that he will not have another chance to spread his poison,” Timberlake noted.

“I’d like to thank the citizens who cared enough about the safety of their community to contact the police about Mr. Whitaker’s actions,” Barmer said.

Barmer also praised the work of Timberlake, calling him an asset to the county.

“Frank works extremely hard on each and every case, no matter how big or how small the drug dealer may be,” Barmer said.

Also working the case were Bertie Community Corrections officers Bill Parrish, Sheldon Rhines, Bill Price, Alton Brown and Massey.

“We appreciate the efforts of the Aulander Police and Bertie Community Corrections in helping us make this arrest,” Atkins said. “This was a coordinated effort between different agencies, something we pride ourselves in here in Bertie County.”