Three charged with trafficking after investigators witness drug use

Published 7:26 pm Friday, February 23, 2018



A chance encounter ended with three people charged with heroin trafficking.

Christopher Spencer, 36, of 3300 N.C. Highway 33 West, Greenville, Ashley Hill, 28, of 1309 New Hill Road, Holly Springs, and Jercarl Johnson, 23, of 116 Concore Drive, Greenville, were arrested earlier this week after investigators with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office drug unit, witnessed them snorting heroin when they stopped for gas in Washington.

“He was hanging out at the gas pump, walking around the car, and I thought, ‘This guy is acting suspicious,’” said Lt. Russell Davenport, head of the drug unit. He got back into the car, sat down and started snorting something — cocaine, heroin — I didn’t know what it was, but I’ve seen someone doing it a thousand times.”

Davenport said investigators waited until the trio’s vehicle left the station, then pulled them over. A search of the car turned up 70 small bags of heroin, used syringes, snorting straws and Narcan, a medication used to reverse the effects of opiates during an overdose, according to the press release from the sheriff’s office.

An opiate trafficking charge applies for the possession of at least 4 grams of opioids. Davenport said the amount seized was probably 18 or 19 grams. Investigators do not know the exact amount because many times heroin is laced with a much more powerful opiate, fentanyl, which can be absorbed through the skin, so they avoid opening the packages.

“It’s just so dangerous now with the heroin, we try to touch it as little as possible,” Davenport said.

That investigators witnessed the use of drugs in a public place is more common that people think.

“It actually happens a lot. We just happened to be there. That’s where most deals happen — in public — because people don’t want to get robbed. They feel safer in public,” Davenport said. “They were at the wrong place at the right time for us.”

Davenport said the suspects did not say why they were in Beaufort County.

“We have a suspicion they were waiting on somebody (to sell to), and they never showed up,” he said.

All three were confined in the Beaufort County Detention Center: Spencer and Johnson, under $150,000 secured bonds; Hill, under a $200,000 bond as he was wanted in Wake County on a probation absconder charge.