A former jailer for the Duplin County Sheriff's Office has been
sentenced to two and a half years probation, fined and ordered to
serve community service for attempting to provide an inmate at the
Duplin jail with drugs.
Kenneth Wayne Kentrolis, 22, of 290 Halls Pond Road, Rose Hill,
pleaded guilty to felonious attempt to provide a controlled substance
to an inmate after being taken into custody in January as a result of
an undercover operation.
Following the plea, Senior Resident Superior Court Judge W. Allen Cobb
Jr. sentenced Kentrolis to a term of six to eight months in prison,
however that sentence was suspended by the court. Kentrolis was placed
under 30 months of supervised probation and ordered to pay a $600
fine, court costs and attorney's fees and complete 50 hours of
[continues 474 words]
What if convicted drug dealers and racketeers were forced to pay for
necessary county expenses that would benefit all citizens, especially
during tough economic times?
Tight governmental budgets, compounded by a struggling economy, often
call for county departments to do one of two things -- cut line items
or find the cash to fund necessities. Through the federal Asset
Forfeiture Program, the Sampson County Sheriff's Office has
consistently tried to do the latter, simply by busting criminals.
"We've been fortunate to get a lot (of money)," said Sampson County
Sheriff Jimmy Thornton. "I don't mean hundreds of thousands of
dollars every couple months, but we've been very fortunate."
[continues 932 words]
At this time last year, Sheriff Jimmy Thornton's frustration with the
raging methamphetamine problem in Sampson County had long since boiled
The sheriff and his drug agents with the Special Investigation
Division (SID) were pulling their hair out, losing sleep with every
meth lab they found in the county -- and there were plenty. By the end
of April 2008, there had already been 20 meth labs discovered in a
year that was just a third of the way in.
[continues 1058 words]
In an effort to reduce the epidemic of prescription drug abuse being
felt in Sampson and across the country, emergency physicians at
Sampson Regional Medical Center are no longer refilling narcotic pain
and sedative medications. Instead of dispensing narcotic pills, they
are instead doling out referrals to primary care physicians so
patients may receive the proper treatment.
Sampson Regional is another in the growing number of emergency
departments taking such measures to reduce the increasing overuse of
narcotic and sedative medications used to treat chronic pain.
[continues 766 words]
Even prior to this week's announcement of federal indictments on eight
local individuals for methamphetamine trafficking, many may have
already known the meth trade in Sampson had been dealt a significant
blow. And the fight is not over.
At the end of February, less than two months into 2008, Sampson County
Sheriff's authorities were dealing with their 12th meth lab of the
year. There have been just 12 more in the 10 months since.
"I think we were having an epidemic in Sampson County," said U.S.
Attorney George E.B. Holding, who received a call from Sampson County
Sheriff Jimmy Thornton in late February. Thornton said the problem had
gotten out of hand. Recalling a promise made at a conference in 2006
by Holding to provide assistance in combating the drug problem, the
sheriff took him up on the offer.
[continues 425 words]
Eight Area Residents Federally Indicted on Methamphetamine Charges,
First Ever in State
Eight local residents are facing federal prison sentences, ranging
from minimum sentences of 10 years to life in prison, following a
lengthy, historical investigation by federal, state and local
authorities into the manufacture of methamphetamine locally.
Producing the first-ever federal meth convictions in the state,
"Operation Juiced Out" has taken a substantial bite out of the meth
activity in the county and sent a strong message to others, Sampson
County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said upon the announcement of the
federal indictments Monday.
[continues 901 words]
The number of meth labs found in Sampson County, through August, has
doubled over the entire amount discovered and dismantled in 2007 --
and the county's sheriff said a meth lab has not been found locally
According to statistics disseminated by the N.C. State Bureau of
Investigation, there have been 20 confirmed clandestine lab responses
in Sampson as of the end of August. There were 10 in Sampson all of
The SBI has recorded 131 confirmed meth labs in the entire state,
approximately 40 percent of which have been in either Sampson or
Harnett counties. Harnett leads the state with 30 meth labs in 2008.
[continues 759 words]
Sheriff's authorities have seized more than $700,000 worth of
marijuana after discovering hundreds of stalks, some measuring up to 7
feet in height, in a field in the Plain View community.
The commander of the sheriff's Special Investigation Division,
assigned to handle felony narcotics cases, said SID agents worked with
the office's newly-implemented gang unit in making the seizure
Wednesday afternoon. He said the marijuana was found off a dirt path
on the 8000 block of Timothy Road, well off of N.C. 55.
[continues 342 words]
Local sheriff's authorities have seized more than half a million
dollars worth of marijuana and cocaine in 200 drug investigations and
two undercover campaigns this year, as well as made a whopping 53
methamphetamine-related responses netting nine labs and numerous meth
There have been 226 cases opened by the Sampson County Sheriff's
Special Investigative Division in 2008, and nearly 160 of them - about
70 percent - have been closed by arrests, according to a 2008 activity
report compiled by the division's commander and provided to The
[continues 511 words]
CLINTON - A local prison guard now finds herself behind bars after
being arrested after attempting to smuggle drugs into the N.C.
Department of Corrections facility early Thursday morning, according
to information from Clinton police authorities.
Kathy Marie Turner, 41, of 189 Harmony Acres Lane, Clinton, was
charged Thursday with possession with intent to sell and deliver
marijuana, possession of a controlled substance on jail premises and
maintaining a vehicle for the storage of a controlled substance.
An employee with the Department of Corrections for the last two years,
Turner was arrested after nearly an ounce of marijuana was seized by
Clinton police and state correctional officers outside the facility on
North Boulevard Thursday.
[continues 273 words]
Sampson County Sheriff's investigators are getting reports of
methamphetamine labs across the county an average of once every three
days this year. More than a third of those calls are yielding meth
labs or components from the labs -- and that number will look
minuscule as the year progresses, the sheriff said.
"It's apparent we have a serious problem," Sheriff Jimmy Thornton
said this past week as he looked at numbers compiled by his Special
Investigations Division, assigned to respond to calls of meth labs
and other drug-related incidents.
[continues 832 words]
During 2005, agents with the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation
responded to 328 clandestine methamphetamine labs in the state, and,
through increased public awareness and more stringent laws regulating
the sale of a key ingredient in the drug's production, two years later
that statewide number has been cut in half.
However, while the number of meth labs SBI authorities have responded
to has dipped significantly overall in the last year, including in
Sampson, this county and those surrounding it have remained a hot bed
for such clandestine drug activity.
[continues 677 words]
Going into a brand new school year, Sampson County educators said the
implementation of a voluntary drug program, that can be utilized
through the anonymous distribution of home-testing kits, has been
successful in its aim even though just a fraction of the kits were
picked up from county schools last year.
Becky Jackson, director of middle grades education for Sampson County
Schools, who helped to spearhead the voluntary drug-testing program
called SASSY (Substance Abuse Screening Saves Youth), said she wished
for more participation in the service, which she said can continue to
be funded this school year.
[continues 649 words]
CLINTON - Residents around Sampson County are becoming increasingly
aware of just how destructive methamphetamine has become in their own
communities and have engaged in a renewed effort toward solutions to
combat the significantly strong hold of meth addiction.
"It was sobering," said the Rev. Cory Oliver, pastor at Epworth United
He said that it was most shocking to hear just how much time it takes
for a meth user to recover from addiction, taking between 12 to 18
months after usage is stopped before neurotransmitters in the brain
damaged by meth can heal.
[continues 964 words]
CLINTON -- When Dr. Mary Holley's brother Jim was just 22 years old,
he would start using a drug that would take hold of him and his
brain, causing Jim to go through constant fits of paranoia, psychosis
and schizophrenia that would result in him taking his own life a mere
two years later. That drug was methamphetamine, a substance that is
infecting communities across the country, destroying the lives of
users and their families in its wake.
Now a renowned expert in the field of meth, Holley made a visit to
Sampson County this week to share her story and discuss the affects
of the drugs in an effort to bring about awareness by everyone, and
offer solutions to the problem. Meth addicts suffer from a brain
disease and no longer function by themselves, with meth controlling
them and eating away at their brain, Holley said.
[continues 721 words]
KENANSVILLE -- Nearly $78,000 in cash was seized as a result of two
routine traffic stops made by members of the Duplin Interstate
Criminal Enforcement team recently, according to information released
by sheriff's authorities Tuesday. The sheriff said approximately
$300,000 has been seized in the last year alone through the work of
In the most recent of the two stops, the larger of the two, a vehicle
being driven by a Forsyth County teenager, was found to contain
$75,000. The stop was made by Lee Graham, deputy with the DICE team,
shortly before 9 a.m. April 16.
[continues 743 words]
WALLACE -- A Wallace Police Department officer has been arrested on
several serious felony drug and robbery charges following a
months-long investigation into allegations of his involvement in the
armed robbery of an area grocery store, and conspiring to commit drug
sales on two separate occasions.
On Tuesday, the State Bureau of Investigation arrested Warsaw police
Officer David Brown Jr., 31, of 209 Sloan St., Wallace.
Brown has been charged with conspiracy to sell and deliver a Schedule
VI controlled substance, conspiracy to sell and deliver a Schedule II
controlled substance, robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy
to commit robbery with a dangerous weapon. He has been placed in the
Duplin County jail under a $250,000 secured bond, according to warrants.
[continues 202 words]
Sampson County officials are hoping that a televised documentary will
act to further shed light on addiction and its dire effects on not
only those addicted, but the community around them, with an emphasis
on treating that addiction as what it is -- a brain disease.
Several distinguished documentary filmmakers explored the current
state of addiction in America in nine segments, interweaving the
latest thinking on treatment and recovery by leading experts on drug
and alcohol addiction, picking the minds of accomplished experts in
psychology and psychiatry.
[continues 661 words]
Meth is a problem, one which law enforcement continues to deal and
addicts continue to battle. It affects not only those who choose to do
the drug, but their families, landlords, neighbors and many throughout
The first step in the battle, as many law enforcement and educational
officials will attest, has always been awareness -- that of the drug
itself, and the dire and far-reaching effects the drug can have,
whether physical, psychological and economical.
That importance of such awareness will be expressed thoroughly at an
upcoming seminar, to be held this Tuesday, Nov. 28, at Sampson
Community College, as well as act as the focal point for National Meth
Awareness Day two days later, on Nov. 30.
[continues 680 words]
Nearly $50,000 in cash was seized by Sampson County Sheriff's
authorities during a traffic stop on Interstate 40 Thursday,
according to a press release from the Sheriff's Office. The money has
been turned over to federal authorities and charges may be
forthcoming against the driver, authorities said.
According to information from sheriff's authorities, the stop was
made at about 2:30 p.m. on a black Cadillac traveling on I-40.
Members of the sheriff's Highway Enforcement Awareness Team conducted
the investigative stop and a K-9 unit responded and the vehicle
received a positive alert for the presence of narcotics, reports state.
[continues 233 words]