Published 11:01 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Six law enforcement agencies joined together this past weekend in a Hertford County operation that led to 94 charges being filed, the majority for alcohol related offenses.

A total of 53 individuals were either arrested or cited countywide. The Hertford County Sheriff’s Office, Ahoskie and Murfreesboro Police, ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement), ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and Hertford County Probation and Parole conducted the joint operation on June 24-25.

“We planned this operation well and the cooperation between the agencies was outstanding,” said Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan whose department was the lead agency in the operation. “That’s what it takes in smaller counties such as ours where our resources and manpower are somewhat limited. We’re all in this together and that effort and commitment was demonstrated extremely well during this combined operation.”

Sheriff Vaughan also thanked the local citizens for providing tips that assisted the lawmen in their efforts.

“Those citizen tips allowed us to go within their communities, their neighborhoods, and put a stop to this illegal activity,” Vaughan stated.

The 48-hour operation yielded numerous charges involving the illegal sale of alcohol.

Armed with a search warrant, HCSO Sgt. John Joyner led the way in arresting Vernell Twine at his residence at 120 Garfield Mitchell Road, located off NC 42 west near Ahoskie. Twine was charged with selling alcohol without a permit and gambling. Three others at the residence were also cited for gambling.

Three other residences were searched by consent.

At 122 Buena Vista Road, Murfreesboro (Wise’s Mobile Home Park), Tommy Parker was charged with selling alcohol without a permit and possession of non tax paid liquor. One of his neighbors, Andrew Fennell at 111 Buena Vista Road, was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and maintaining a dwelling to keep a controlled substance. Valerie Sessoms was arrested at the same residence and charged with possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Curtis Fennell (504 Flea Hill Road, Ahoskie) was charged with selling alcohol without a permit and possession of non tax paid liquor.

Murfreesboro Police Lt. Joe Burgess served a search warrant at the residence of Thornell Powell on Boyette Street. There, Lt. Burgess and his team of lawmen arrested Powell on the charge of maintaining a dwelling to keep a controlled substance; Quentin Fennell (possession with intent to sell and deliver crack cocaine); and Taureance Bonner (possession of marijuana).

“The citizens of Murfreesboro and those throughout Hertford County are fortunate in the fact that all these agencies work so well together to reach a common goal – that of making our neighborhoods a better place to live and work,” Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe said. “It’s a force multiplier when these different agencies come together; it’s a very effective way to fight crime.”

Two businesses – Speedway in Murfreesboro and NC 42 West Sunoco (Ahoskie) – were cited for ABC violations. Additionally, 1.5 pounds of K-2 Spice (synthetic marijuana) was seized at the Sunoco station.

Sheriff Vaughan said additional arrests were made or citations issued as lawmen conducted traffic checkpoints as well as working areas where citizens had lodged complaints about possible illegal activity.

Other than the infractions previously listed, the law enforcement teams working the county also charged individuals with no operator’s license (9 cases), driving while license revoked (8), open alcohol containers in the driver’s area of a vehicle (8), marijuana possession (13), displaying fictitious tags (3), DWI (2), no vehicle insurance (2), indecent exposure (2), stop sign violation (2) and one charge each of driving with a revoked tag, littering, careless and reckless driving, possession of beer by an underage person, selling alcohol to a minor, purchase of beer by a minor, carrying a concealed weapon, unsafe passing and driving left of center.

The officers also assisted with a shoplifting case, recovered a stolen vehicle, and served warrants for making a harassing phone call, damage to property and child support.

“I was very satisfied with the outcome of this operation,” Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh said. “It was a very professional operation, one where all the departments worked well together.

“We will continue to do these types of joint operations to ensure people are abiding within the laws.  We’re still keeping a watchful eye in our towns and in the county,” Fitzhugh added.

Brandon Lanier, the Resident ALE Agent for the local area, was also impressed with the operation.

“The cooperation between all the agencies involved was seamless,” he said. “Everything was very well organized and carried out in a professional manner. The bottom line is that we were able to hit a lot of problem areas in the county.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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