License check turns into drug bust

Published 6:42 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Phillip Woolard

Phillip Woolard


Highway checkpoints can turn up many infractions: revoked licenses, drivers not wearing seatbelts, registration violations, the occasional drunk driver. But sometimes, stopping a random vehicle can generate much more.

This weekend, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office drug unit was called out to a North Carolina State Highway Patrol license checkpoint to assist in a drug arrest. A press release from the drug unit said a search of one vehicle by troopers produced marijuana, prescription pain meds and a concealed .22-caliber pistol.

Phillip Woolard, 28, of 345 Betsy Elbow Road, Washington, was charged with possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana, possession with intent to sell and deliver Oxycodone, a schedule II controlled substance, and carrying a concealed weapon.

The checkpoint was set up on N.C. Highway 32 between U.S. Highway 264 and River Road on March 30, and at about 7 p.m. one car tipped troopers off as it rolled up to the checkpoint because it smelled like marijuana, according to the release.

“They called us in because the Highway Patrol really doesn’t have the time to investigate drug crimes,” said Capt. Russell Davenport, head of the drug unit. “Most of the time when they find drugs on the scene, they call us.”

Found were three plastic bags of marijuana packaged for resale, 14 Oxycodone pills in another bag and the firearm, which Davenport said was in a pocket in the inside door of the truck where the officer could not see it.

“At the least, (Woolard) should have told him he had a gun when (the trooper) first walked up,” Davenport said about the concealed weapon charge.

Davenport said the arrest is just further proof that the illegal sale of prescription pain pills is at an epidemic level.

Woolard was detained in the Beaufort County Detention Center under a $5,000 secured bond.