In all, Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp said, 694 bricks with 34,700 bindles weighing a total of 3,460 grams were seized following the stop at the 173 mile marker on Interstate 95 in Roanoke Rapids. The seizure represented a monetary value of $347,000.
The arrests of Tony Reams, 53, of Scotland Neck, and Herbert Cherry, 59, of Tarboro, came around 4:30 this morning as the two were returning from a trip to Patterson, New Jersey, to allegedly restock their supply, which was stored in Scotland Neck for distribution in Halifax, Nash and Edgecombe counties, Tripp said at a press briefing.
The men were charged with two counts each of trafficking heroin. Cherry was jailed on $75,000 bond and Reams a $30,000 bond.
“When you talk about big fish,” Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said, “these were two trophies.”
Stone said earlier in the press conference the case was a collaborative effort which also included the Drug Enforcement Administration and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
Tripp said it included the Tar River Regional Drug Task Force, which received initial intelligence on the men last year, and passed on the information to the Halifax County City County Drug Task Force.
New Jersey stands as one of the many conduits for the heroin trade, Stone said. Once a mainstay of Southeast Asia, the heroin poppy is now flourishing in Mexico. “Drug cartels are growing poppies. Mexico is just as big of a player.”
Stone noted the heroin seized was clearly marked with trademark insignias of the cartels which distribute it.
The seizure, he said, kept the heroin from surfacing into schools, churches and communities and from falling into the hands of children. “It all came together. We took the initial information from citizens which led to surveillance and other techniques used.”
The United States Attorneys Office has already been notified, Stone said.
Tripp said the investigation which led to the arrests and the seizure was another example of how cooperation between the different jurisdictions works. “We all know working together works. This is a fine example of that. Criminals have no jurisdictional boundaries. Why should we?”
Other law enforcement officers invited to the press briefing commented on the bust as well.
“This was good police work,” said Weldon police Chief Mark Macon. “It’s good to see this collaboration to take this dangerous drug off the streets.”
Working together, Roanoke Rapids Chief Chuck Hasty said, “Helps us combat this.”