Jacksonville Daily News, NC
More than 60 marijuana plants with a street value of about $151,000 and $39,000 in cash were seized Monday in a drug bust in Richlands that included the arrest of a father and son who run a produce stand.
The Onslow County Sheriff’s Department spent about nine months investigating Leslie Powell, 45, and some of his sons who live at 1200 Beulaville Highway, Richlands, said Onslow County Sheriff Ed Brown.
“This investigation involving the Powells has been ongoing since September 2005,” Brown said.
On Monday, about 25 deputies went with search warrants to two residences on Beulaville Highway before the sun came up, Brown said.
“Another team of deputies were out waiting for Leslie C. Powell to leave his home,” Brown said. “Everyone assigned to the operation understood all actions were to occur simultaneously triggered by the arrest of Leslie Powell.”
Leslie Powell was arrested at about 8:30 a.m. Monday and charged with 23 drug crimes including possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver cocaine, possession with intent to manufacture marijuana and possession of a firearm by a felon. Leslie Powell was placed in Onslow County Jail under $800,000 bond, Brown said.
Once Leslie Powell was arrested, deputies headed to four different locations with search warrants.
“For the next eight hours, deputies and canines searched dwellings, outbuildings and wooded areas,” Brown said.
Authorities seized 63 marijuana plants, 11 grams of cocaine, marijuana growing material, assorted drug smoking devices, cash, cell phones, a “marijuana way” sign and a rifle. Deputies also seized several magazines including High Times and Weed World, which provide tips about growing marijuana. Possession of the magazines is not illegal.
Brown said that each marijuana plant, which were found behind Leslie Powell’s residence, has a street value of about $2,400 once it reaches full maturity.
The Powells ran a produce stand on N.C. 24 between J&N Grocery at Haw Branch Road and the Duplin County line. The produce was a front for the drug business, authorities allege.
Nicholas Calvin Powell, Leslie Powell’s son, was also arrested Monday. Nicholas Powell, 22, of 1200 Beulaville Highway in Richlands, and Amanda Yost, who lives at the same residence, were both charged with manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was placed in jail under $350,000 bond. Yost was placed under $200,000 bond, Brown said.
Crystal Gail Autry, 30, of 1216 Beulaville Highway in Richlands, was charged with possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver cocaine, manufacturing cocaine, maintaining a dwelling for a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $200,000, Brown said.
Authorities expect to make more arrests in connection to this case, Brown said.
Amazing. A handful of sprouted seeds, a handful of white powder, four people facing 37 charges.