Ahoskie businessman nabbed in statewide raid

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, December 5, 2017

AHOSKIE – A businessman here on First Street was part of a statewide operation conducted by local and North Carolina law enforcement agencies that led to his arrest Friday night.

North Carolina ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement) reported the arrest of Horace Askew, owner of the D-Mart. His arrest stemmed from a search of the convenience store premises that turned up two loaded weapons, 214 ecstasy tablets, marijuana and non-tax paid spirituous liquor, all violations of his ABC license. Askew is a convicted felon.

According to the Hertford County Criminal Court docket for today (Tuesday), Askew is scheduled to appear to answer the charges of trafficking in MDA/MDMA (ecstasy), possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a controlled substance, maintaining a vehicle/dwelling/place to store controlled substances, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession/sell non-tax paid alcoholic beverage, possession of marijuana (up to one-half ounce), possession of marijuana paraphernalia, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Askew was also charged with possession and consumption of fortified wine and spirituous liquor on an unauthorized premise.

“My staff assisted ALE and the Down East Narcotics Task Force,” said Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh. “We go out with ALE on occasion and assist them in operations they conduct. We’re very happy for what they did here in Ahoskie and all across North Carolina over the past weekend. We’re glad they were able to take these weapons and drugs off the street.”

Hertford County Sheriff Dexter Hayes was also appreciative of the combined efforts of local, regional and state law enforcement agencies.

“When you operate a small department here in a rural county, having these extra resources helps us in cases of this magnitude,” Hayes said. “On behalf of the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of this county, I thank the agents of North Carolina ALE and the regional Narcotics Task Force for working side-by-side with my officers in making this arrest.”

The statewide operation, conducted on Friday and Saturday, netted a total of 158 arrests on 297 charges.

During the operation, one agent performed CPR on an unresponsive overdose victim until EMS could arrive and provide Naloxone. Another agent identified a suspect in a previous armed robbery who had 17 outstanding warrants for his arrest. The suspect possessed a mask believed to be used during an armed robbery two days prior.

The special operation used every available ALE agent in partnership with sheriffs, police chiefs, and other law enforcement partners. Their goal was to prevent violence and other criminal activity at locations that sell alcoholic beverages, both at Alcoholic Beverage Control permitted establishments and non-permitted locations, such as shot houses.

The charges on those arrested included 101 that were alcoholic beverage related, 97 drug-related and 28 felonies.

ALE special agents will submit violation reports to the N.C. ABC Commission documenting regulatory and/or law violations they observed at the 21 ABC-permitted businesses. The violations could result in fines, suspensions or revocations of the ABC permits.

Twelve firearms were seized across the state, to include the two seized in Ahoskie.

Various amounts and types of controlled substances were seized, including marijuana, crack, MDMA (ecstasy) and heroin. Non-tax paid spirituous liquor and one vehicle were also seized. Four search warrants were executed.

“This is the first of many operations ALE is planning to deter violence at nightclubs, bars and restaurants across the state,” said Terrance Merriweather, ALE branch head. “The number of fatal shootings that have occurred at these locations is prompting ALE’s extra enforcement activity.”

The areas in which the operation was conducted included, but not limited to, Asheville, Arden, Hendersonville, Hickory, Salisbury, Charlotte, Reidsville, Burlington, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Asheboro, Liberty, Mebane, Raleigh, Benson, Zebulon, Wilson, Washington, Ahoskie, Goldsboro, Wilmington, Castle Hayne, Swansboro, Jacksonville and Fayetteville.

ALE’s 109 specially trained agents have the authority to arrest and take investigatory action for any criminal offense. Their primary responsibility is the enforcement of Alcoholic Beverage Control laws and state lottery laws.

ALE is a branch of the State Bureau of Investigation.

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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