Meth, marijuana, cash seized in latest drug busts

Published 8:41 pm Friday, January 19, 2018


A joint investigation led to a meth arrest in Grifton while another netted nearly $40,000 in cash in Chocowinity.

James Kevin Powers, 51, of Grifton, was charged with trafficking in meth after investigators with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office drug unit purchased methamphetamine from Powers in Beaufort County, according to a press release from the drug unit. Joining forces with the Grifton Police Department and Pitt County Sheriff’s Office drug unit, a search of Powers’ Grifton residence turned up 36 grams of meth packaged for resale, as well as digital scales and marijuana.

“People involved in drug distribution don’t see county lines. They travel back and forth without worrying about law enforcement following them. It’s an advantage for us to work with other agencies,” said Lt. Russell Davenport, head of Beaufort County’s drug unit.

Davenport said investigators learned where Powers was living and reached out to area law enforcement, which then helped out with surveillance and information about Powers’ movements.

“It’s just more manpower — you’ve got more eyes,” Davenport said.

Davenport said it was complaints that Powers was selling meth at a bar in Chocowinity that led to the initial surveillance; complaints about other drug sales in Chocowinity also led to charges against Steven Lee Smith, 33, of Frederick Road.

Smith was charged last week with selling marijuana after investigators found approximately 945 grams of marijuana packaged in vacuum-sealed plastic bags, accord to the press release. Davenport estimated the high-grade marijuana has a street value between $10,000 and $15,000.

“It’s very hard to hide the smell of marijuana, and when you have a lot of marijuana, it’s hard to hide it. There’s not a lot of places you can hide that much marijuana,” Davenport said.

Also confiscated from Smith’s residence was $38,400 in cash.

“That just goes to show you that the distribution of marijuana — there’s lots of money in it,” Davenport said.

Davenport said Smith had been on the drug unit’s radar back in 2013, also due to complaints, but had moved away, only to move back recently.

“We get complaints all the time — sometimes it takes a month, sometimes it takes six months, and sometimes it takes a couple of years,” Davenport said.

Smith’s court date is set for Feb. 5.  Powers has court dates on Feb. 22 in Beaufort County and Jan. 31 in Pitt County.