A North Wilkesboro man was sentenced to between 225 and 282 months in prison after pleading guilty to numerous felony drug offenses during the Dec 14 session of Wilkes Superior Court.

Alphonzo Linn Leach III, 41, was also ordered to pay a $500,000 fine, $600 to the State Bureau of Investigation and $3,575 to the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office special drug fund.

Capt. Craig Dancy, who heads the sheriff’s office’s narcotics unit, said it was one of the largest fines he has seen levied in a drug case.

When the sheriff’s office arrested Leach in late February, Dancy said he “was probably the largest heroin dealer in the county and one of the largest meth (methamphetamine) dealers” in Wilkes.

Dancy said then that three local people had overdosed on heroin laced with fentanyl that they bought from Leach. “That’s three for sure and there could be more.” Dancy said those three didn’t die.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever similar to morphine but far more potent. A rise in overdose deaths from heroin containing illegally made fentanyl has been reported in much of the country.

Dancy said an undercover narcotics officer bought drugs from Leach on four occasions at a home on Pine Avenue, North Wilkesboro, and once at Golden Goose Arcade in Wilkesboro during the investigation. He said this totaled 14 grams of heroin with a street value of about $1,000 and 105 grams of meth worth about $5,000.

Dancy said Leach is believed to have purchased the heroin from a source in the Winston-Salem area.

He said Leach’s mother, Frieda Joan Ferguson, 62, was charged with resisting a public officer because she came to the door when officers arrived at the Pine Avenue home with a search warrant and tried to prevent their entry.

Dancy said Leach was charged with resisting a public officer and altering/destroying evidence because he ran to a bathroom when officers arrived and flushed some of the heroin in the house down a toilet.

When Leach was arrested in late February, he was already out on bond and awaiting trial on heroin and meth charges filed earlier by the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office has arrested him several times.

Chief Resident Superior Court Michael Duncan sentenced Leach and gave him credit for 458 days spent in the Wilkes County Jail. Duncan also ordered that Leach receive substance abuse treatment and a vocational education program.

Leach pleaded guilty to being a habitual felon; felony conspiracy; conspiring to traffic in opium or heroin; eight counts of trafficking in opium or heroin; six counts of trafficking in meth; 16 counts of possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver a schedule I, II or VI controlled substance or heroin; nine counts of selling and delivering heroin or a schedule II controlled substance and two counts of resisting a public officer.

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