Heckstall faces federal drug charges

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2007

WINDSOR – Today’s the day for Jerrold Cleveland Heckstall.

The Windsor man will stand in front of a federal judge at 10 a.m. this morning (Thursday) in Raleigh where a detention hearing is scheduled. At stake is how much time Heckstall, aka “Dirt,” will spend behind bars on federal drug charges.

On Monday, Heckstall was transported by the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office to Raleigh where he was handed over to the custody of the U.S. Marshall’s Service.

Reportedly, Heckstall faces an active jail sentence of 10-to-40 years on the charges of possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and conspiracy to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine.

Taken into custody late Saturday afternoon, Heckstall was originally arrested in December of 2005 in Martin County from a combined drug sting involving law enforcement officers in Bertie and Pitt counties and the SBI.

The investigation leading up to the 2005 arrest began with Heckstall allegedly attempting to purchase a kilo of cocaine in Martin County. After looking further into the case, Detective Kenny Gilliam of the Bertie Sheriff’s Narcotics Division went before a Federal Grand Jury in Raleigh on April 5 at which time a federal warrant was issued for Heckstall’s arrest.

“This was a case we were able to take to the federal level,” said Bertie Sheriff Greg Atkins. “I appreciate all the work by our officers on this case as well as the cooperation we received from Martin and Pitt counties and the SBI.

“It’s like I’ve said many times before, drug dealers do not recognize county lines,” Atkins concluded. “They spread their poison anywhere they stand to gain a profit, not ever thinking of the consequences – the broken families – they leave behind. We, as law enforcement agencies, are tearing a page out of that same book as we’re not recognizing boundaries. By working together, we hope to make a big impact on drug trafficking in our home counties and the region as well.”