Tip nets pot arrest

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2008

PLEASANT HILL – Special delivery? Not exactly.

A woman here is facing drug charges, including drug trafficking, after she received a package containing 16 pounds of marijuana via Fed Ex, according to the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO).

Sheriff Wardie Vincent said Betty Ennis Brooks, 61 of 265 Joe True Lane in Pleasant Hill, was taken into custody after an undercover operation that took place on Tuesday.

Brooks has been charged with trafficking marijuana, possession with the intent to sell and deliver marijuana and maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance.

Brooks is being held under a $100,000 secured bond at the Northampton County Jail.

As of Thursday afternoon NCSO is on the lookout for another suspect. Vincent said warrants, for the same offenses, have been drawn for Brooks’s son, Tony Lee Taylor, 41 of 323 Cornwallis Road in Pleasant Hill.

Vincent said Taylor has forthcoming charges as a search of his residence turned up drug paraphernalia.

Taylor is described as a white male who is six feet tall and weighs 170 pounds. He has brown eyes and black hair.

Vincent said the case began when his office received a call from an officer with the Wilson Police Department. The officer informed NCSO that Fed Ex had notified his agency of a suspicious package addressed to Brooks’s residence.

The recipient was listed as “Jay Workman” at “TL Kennels.” Vincent said there are no kennels in that area of the county.

“He had a K-9 unit investigate and the dog hit on the package,” said Vincent.

Upon a search warrant being granted, police searched the box, finding 16 pounds of marijuana swathed in Styrofoam wrapping inside a plastic container.

Vincent said the package was laced with an oil to prevent law enforcement K-9s from detecting the illegal cargo.

“With a coordinated effort with the police in Wilson, we made preparations to attempt to apprehend the alleged (recipient),” he said.

An undercover officer disguised as a Fed Ex employee delivered the package to Brooks’s residence.

“She advised him she had been ‘looking’ for the package,” said Vincent.

Brooks then allegedly signed for the parcel. Later, Brooks was taken into custody.

Vincent said the investigation is continuing and NCSO is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on the case. The return address on the label is listed as “Cris Garcia” in Mission, Texas

“We are working with the FBI and DEA in an effort to do some backtracking to see where it was mailed from; there may be another arrest as we look into it,” he said.

Vincent said his office believes they have netted “a major player in marijuana distribution in our area,” including Roanoke Rapids and Halifax County.

Vincent thanked all of the law enforcement agencies involved, including the Wilson Police Department and the FBI. He also commended his deputies for an “outstanding job.” Vincent also thanked local citizens for their input.

Those who know of Taylor’s whereabouts are urged to call NCSO at 534-2611 or the Northampton County Crime Stoppers line at 534-1110.