Aulander man held under $500,000 bond

Published 10:15 am Tuesday, August 11, 2009

AULANDER – An Aulander man is being held in the Bertie-Martin Regional Jail under a half-million dollar secured bond following his Thursday night arrest on eight felony drug charges.

Stanley Bernard Lee, 51, of 319 North Commerce Street faces a mandatory prison sentence and fines on two of the charges, according to Aulander Police Officer Jimmy Barmer. All of the charges stem from Lee’s alleged possession and sale of prescription drugs.

“These drugs are legal as long as they are prescribed by a licensed doctor, filled by licensed pharmacist and in the possession of the person whose name is on the prescription and the pills are in their original container,” Barmer said. “When these prescriptions are out of that normal element and sold individually or in bulk on the street, then that person is violating the law.”

Lee was charged with the following felonies:

Trafficking in opium derivative of four grams or more, but less than 14 grams; a Class F felony punishable by a mandatory minimum of 70 months in prison and a mandatory minimum fine of $50,000.

Trafficking in opium derivative of 14 grams, but less than 28 grams; a Class E felony which carries a mandatory minimum 90 months behind bars and mandatory minimum fine of $100,000.

Two counts of possession with intent to sale and deliver a Schedule 2 controlled substance.

Two counts of possession with intent to sale and deliver a Schedule 3 controlled substance.

One count of possession with intent to sale and deliver a Schedule 4 controlled substance.

One count of maintaining a dwelling to keep a controlled substance.

Barmer said Aulander Police were alerted to Lee’s alleged dealings based on numerous complaints from citizens and the amount of traffic going and coming from his residence.

“Based on that information, we set-up surveillance on the residence,” Barmer said. “After gathering enough information based on the surveillance and an undercover operation where prescription drugs were purchased from Lee at his residence, a search warrant was obtained and served.”

Armed with that warrant, a team of law enforcement officers arrived at Lee’s residence at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 6. Barmer stated Lee was seated on front porch where he was advised of the nature of the officers’ business.

“He went into the kitchen and opened a cabinet, pulling out a bottle marked as Advil (an over-the-counter ibuprofen),” Barmer said. “There were no Advil in that bottle…rather it contained 85 prescription pills believed to be OxyContin. He also pulled out a prescription bottle, with no name on it, containing 52 pills we believe to be Xanax.”

According to the website WebMD, OxyContin is a slow-release narcotic prescribed for pain caused by cancer, severe arthritis, sickle cell disease and nerve damage. On the street it’s known as “oxycotton.” Users crush and snort the drug and it reportedly delivers a powerful and fast high that many say is better than heroin.

Xanax, according to WebMD, is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect. It works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical in the body and is considered habit-forming.

Barmer was joined in conducting the search by Aulander Officer Will Liverman, Bertie Sheriff’s Detectives Ed Pittman and Harris Williams and Murfreesboro Police Officer William Barmer. Later, they found an additional 36 pills of Oxycodone; three pills of Hydrocodone and other prescription drugs, all of which were not in original containers.

“The prescription labels had been scraped off the bottles,” Jimmy Barmer said.

Additionally, the search turned-up other items inside the residence that were seized for evidence. Tommy Hale, a Town of Aulander employee, was called to assist the officers in transporting the seized items to the Aulander Police Department.

An undisclosed amount of U.S. currency was also seized. That money was turned over to the NC Department of Revenue’s Unauthorized Substance Tax Division.

“I’d like to thank all those who assisted in this search and arrest,” Barmer said. “A special thanks goes to the Murfreesboro Police Department for their cooperation in providing one of their officers and a big thank-you goes out to Mr. Hale. He’s always willing to assist and the Town of Aulander is fortunate to have such an employee.”

Barmer closed with a word of warning.

“I would warn those who legally obtain and use these medications as prescribed by a doctor to keep them out of sight and out of reach,” he stressed.

Barmer also thanked the Aulander citizens who provided information in this case. He urged them to continue to report illegal activity by calling 345-3181.