Prison guard arrested twice

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008

Double trouble….that’s what a Bertie Correctional Institute (BCI) officer found himself in on Thursday.

Derrick Rawls, 28 of 701 North Martin Luther King Drive, Ahoskie, was arrested twice in the same day on drug charges.

His initial arrest came around 7 a.m. in Windsor at which time he was reporting to work at BCI. At the same time, BCI officials, joined by members of the Windsor Police Department, were conducting a random search of vehicles entering the prison compound, located off Cooper Hill Road.

“The prison conducts random searches of vehicles and persons entering the prison,” Windsor Police Detective Sgt. Ricky Morris said. “On this particular day, we had set-up a vehicle checkpoint on the road leading into the prison.”

A drug-sniffing dog made a “hit” on Rawls’ vehicle, but no drugs were located inside the vehicle or on Rawls’ person. Meanwhile, Windsor Police Chief Rodney Hoggard was patrolling the Cooper Hill Road area as well as the prison’s entrance road. Hoggard spotted some suspicious looking items along the entrance road. Chief Hoggard investigated, discovering marijuana, packaged for sale, wrapped inside tape.

“We believe that Mr. Rawls discarded those drugs as he was waiting in line before reaching the checkpoint,” Morris said. “We also found rolls of tape inside Mr. Rawls’ vehicle that matched the tape discovered by Chief Hoggard.”

However, the most damaging evidence against Rawls was his own confession.

“He admitted the drugs (discarded along the road) were his and also admitted to previous times when he would take drugs into the prison and sell to inmates,” Morris said.

Morris charged Rawls with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana as well as possession of a controlled substance on prison property. Morris said other charges were pending.

Rawls’ bond in Bertie County was set at $2,500 unsecured.

However, as things turned out, a larger bond awaited Rawls in Hertford County.

After being bonded out of jail in Bertie County, Morris asked Rawls for permission to search his Ahoskie residence. Morris said Rawls initially agreed to that search, but later hesitated.

“I had already contacted (Ahoskie Police Detective Sgt.) Jeremy (Roberts) to let him know what we had over this way and that our arrestee had first agreed and then hesitated to a search of his residence,” Morris said.

Armed with that information, Roberts obtained a search warrant for Rawls’ residence and served it upon Rawls returning home.

Assisted by Morris, Bertie Sheriff’s Narcotics Division Detective Sgt. Frank Timberlake and Hertford County Sheriff’s officials, Roberts search the residence. There, shortly past 1 p.m., approximately 383 grams (13.5 ounces) of marijuana and 3.5 grams of crack cocaine were discovered.

Roberts charged Rawls with felony possession with intent to sell and deliver both marijuana and crack cocaine as well as maintaining a dwelling to store a controlled substance, also a felony. Additionally, Rawls was charged with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

The Ahoskie charges led Rawls to be placed under an $111,000 secured bond. He was scheduled to make his first Hertford County Court appearance yesterday (Friday).