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Ten arrested in state and local drug roundup

Ten people are in the Albemarle District Jail following a five-month undercover prescription drug operation by the State Bureau of Investigation and local police agencies in two counties.

The arrests, made last week, are part of an ongoing regional street level undercover operation called “Take As Directed” in which seizures of 47 dosage units of oxycodone and 35 dosage units of hydrocodone were made.  Other drugs seized were subxone and fentanyl.

SBI agents and officers from Perquimans County Sheriff’s Office, Chowan County Sheriff’s Office and the Edenton Police department met in Perquimans County before searches for the prescription drug suspects began.  The arrests began soon after.

The following will be prosecuted in Perquimans County:

Billy Townsend, Belvedere – possession with intent to sell and deliver suboxone and sale and delivery of suboxone, two counts each, and conspiracy to sell and deliver suboxone, two counts;

Danny Townsend, Hertford – possession with intent to sell and deliver suboxone and sale and delivery of suboxone, two counts each, and conspiracy to sell and deliver suboxone, two counts;

Jeremy Melson, Belvedere – possession with intent to sell and deliver suboxone and sale and delivery of suboxone, two counts each, and conspiracy to sell and deliver suboxone, two counts;

Michael Faison, Hertford – possession with intent to sell and deliver and sale and delivery of oxycodone, two counts each;

Jermaine Coston, Hertford – trafficking by possession of oxycodone and sale and delivery of oxycodone;

Cheryl Shehadeh, Hertford – possession with intent to sell and deliver oxycodone and sale and delivery of oxycodone, two counts each, and trafficking by possession and sale and delivery of hydrocodone, one count each;

Issac White Jr., Hertford – trafficking by possession of oxycodone and sale and delivery of oxycodone; and

Keri Nash, Hertford – possession with intent to sell and deliver fentanyl patch and sell and delivery of fentanyl patch.

Jesse Holly, Edenton, will be prosecuted in Chowan County for trafficking by possession of hydrocodone and sell and delivery of hydrocodone.

Bruce Lee, Edenton, will be prosecuted in Pasquotank County for possession with intent to sell and deliver oxycodone and sell and delivery of oxycodone.

Billy Townsend is Danny Townsend’s son.

“This operation focuses upon prescription drug abuse that is a growing problem in this community,” said SBI Special Agent in Charge Donnie Varnell who supervises the bureau’s Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit.

The criminal activity associated with the prescription drug abuse in the Perquimans County area led to a partnership in Operation Take As Directed.

“This joint operation was conducted to identify those in the community selling these potentially deadly medications on the streets,” said Perquimans County Sheriff Eric V. Tilley.  “These partnerships are essential in combating prescription drug abuse in our communities.”

The undercover buys began in November 2014 and for these particular suspects ended in late April 2015.

The authorities arranged for the Perquimans County Emergency Medical Services to be on hand prior to the arrestees being processed in the Albemarle District Jail.  Their focus was to conduct medical intake assessments on them to provide potential treatments on those suffering from addiction to the prescription drugs.

“This was done to determine the substances they are taking to determine if they are in danger of withdrawal or overdose,” Varnell said.

All of the defendants are currently incarcerated in the Albemarle District Jail and have had made their first appearance in court.