Heroin possession, trafficking charges in drug arrest

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Clockwise from bottom right: Kristen Hardee, Bethany Linton, Taylor Clark and Leslie Warren.

Clockwise from bottom right: Kristen Hardee, Bethany Linton, Taylor Clark and Leslie Warren.

Four eastern North Carolina women were arrested last week — three of them charged with heroin possession, another with heroin trafficking.

On Oct. 29, Taylor Clark, 20, of Fountain Lodge in Chocowinity, Bethany Linton, 24, of Magnolia School Road, Washington, and Kristen Hardee, 23, of Evergreen Drive in Greenville, were each charged with heroin possession, according to a press release from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office drug unit. Another woman, Leslie Warren, 20, of Crawford Drive, Winterville, was charged with heroin trafficking.

The arrests are a sign of times, according to Lt. Russell Davenport, head of the county’s drug unit. Davenport said there’s a direct correlation between the abuse of opiate-based prescription pain pills and the eventual use of heroin when the pills run out.

“That’s why everybody has been seeing the increase of heroin,” Davenport said. “Doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, anybody can be breaking the law.”

The drug unit has a diversion officer tasked specifically with preventing the diversion of prescription pain medication, which often corresponds with cases involving heroin, Davenport said.

Warren was in possession of 5.5 grams of heroin, according to officials — enough to earn substantial prison time in North Carolina, which has some of the toughest trafficking laws in the country.

“Anything over four grams is trafficking and has a minimum mandatory prison sentence,” Davenport said. “It’s a lot of heroin for one person to be possessing.”

In North Carolina, the minimum mandatory sentence for heroin trafficking is 70 months in prison.

Davenport said the investigation is continuing as to the sources of the drug, some of which are in other counties.