The names of 40 people arrested in Wilkes Sheriff’s Office drug investigations in the last 2½ months were announced Wednesday.

Seized in the cases were eight pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of about $108,000, one-quarter pound of heroin worth about $23,000, 910 dosage units of pills worth about $27,000, half pound of cocaine worth about $20,000 and 13 pounds of marijuana worth about $15,000.

Heroin and meth remain dominant illegal drugs in Wilkes, but investigators have seen a recent rise in cocaine, said Capt. Craig Dancy, who heads the sheriff’s office’s narcotics division.

Wilkes Sheriff Chris Shew said regulatory efforts reduced availability of opioid pain pills and thus increased their street prices locally. Shew said this helped heroin and meth surpass pain pills as illegal drugs of choice in Wilkes.

Shew said increased prevalence of heroin in Wilkes has resulted in local people overdosing on that illegal drug, but the sheriff’s office is awaiting lab test results to learn if some recent drug overdose deaths involved heroin.

He said the sheriff’s office and other local emergency personnel respond to multiple drug overdose cases each week. Deputies, fire department first responders and other personnel, in addition to Wilkes Emergency Medical Services and Wilkes Rescue Squad personnel, carry Narcan to save lives by reversing effects of opioid drug overdose.

However, Wilkes EMS Director Tim Pennington said instances of Wilkes EMS paramedics administering Narcan in the first four months of 2019 are down about 25 percent from the same period of 2018. The could be related to increased prevalence of meth, which isn’t an opioid so isn’t impacted by Narcan.

More suicide calls

Shew said his deputies have responded to more calls about people threatening or actually committing suicide this year, which he said often is related to controlled substance addiction.

The Wilkes Communications Center received 44 reports of suicide or attempted suicide between Jan. 1 and May 1 this year, up from 38 in the same period of 2018, said Ricky Minton, communications director for the sheriff’s office.

Pennington said Wilkes EMS has seen an increase in calls regarding people with psychiatric issues, which he said includes those threatening to hurt themselves.

Coming from Triad area

Dancy said most of the heroin and meth in Wilkes is coming from Winston-Salem, Greensboro and High Point (Triad) area after originating south of the U.S. border.

People arrested in the recent drug investigations include Joel Christopher Simcox, 39, Oakland Ct., Walkertown, identified by Dancy as a significant supplier of meth to drug dealers in eastern Wilkes. “He would make two to three trips per week bringing it up here” from Winston-Salem, said Dancy. Simcox is charged with four counts of trafficking in meth and two counts each of selling meth and possession with intent to sell and deliver (PWSD) meth.

Other trafficking cases

Trafficking is charged in cases involving larger amounts of controlled substances. Other trafficking cases among those announced Wednesday include:

• Richard Culley, 67, 398 Yellow Banks Rd.; Tommy Shawn Walker, 49, 831 Sparta Rd., North Wilkesboro; and Darrell Dean Kilby, 41, 948 Mertie Rd., North Wilkesboro, charged with conspiring with each other to sell controlled substances. Culley and Walker are also charged with two counts each of trafficking in schedule II pain pills. All three are charged with selling schedule II pain pills and PWSD schedule II pain pills, but Walker is charged with two counts of each. Dancy said Culley was bringing pain pills from Delaware;

• Michael Wayne Love Jr., 53, 402 Love Hollow, Millers Creek, three counts each of trafficking in cocaine and schedule II pain pills, as well as one count each of PWSD of cocaine and schedule II pain pills. Dancy said Love is already on federal probation for drug offenses;

• Rex Eugene Love Sr., 79, 437 Fishing Creek Arbor Rd., North Wilkesboro, trafficking in cocaine, PWSD cocaine, maintaining dwelling for controlled substance and possession of non-tax paid liquor.

• Jerry Kevin Parsons, 52, 479 Benny Parsons Rd., Purlear, charged with two counts of trafficking in meth, PWSD meth and maintaining vehicle for controlled substance. A kilo of meth was seized when Parsons was arrested. Charged in the same case are Alphonzo Linn Leach III, 40, 191 Lovette Home St., Millers Creek, trafficking in heroin, PWSD heroin and PWSD cocaine; and Nastasha Marie Wilson, 35, 189 Abbington Ct., apt. A108, Wilkesboro, PWSD heroin, PWSD meth and maintaining dwelling for controlled substance;

• Alphonzo Linn Leach Jr., 71, 463 Plaza Dr., Moravian Falls, trafficking in heroin and PWSD heroin;

• Michael Jerome Hampton, 36, 1185 Statesville Rd., North Wilkesboro, trafficking in cocaine, PWSD cocaine, PWSD marijuana and possession of LSD. Dancy said Hannah Irwin Corona, 27, 1201 N. Minton Rd., Millers Creek, is charged with PWSD cocaine in the same case. He said Hampton is already on federal probation for other drug offenses;

• Albert Lee Collins, 41, 3755 Elledge Mill Rd., North Wilkesboro, trafficking in marijuana, manufacturing marijuana, PWSD marijuana and maintaining dwelling for controlled substance. Dancy said Collins was charged after an indoor marijuana growing operation with 117 plants (about 10 pounds) was found in his home.

Other meth cases

Other meth cases include:

• Jennifer Carol Forrest, 36, Summerfield Rd. Moravian Falls, PWSD meth. She is also is charged with destruction of evidence for swallowing meth after her arrest, which resulted in her having to be taken to Wilkes Medical Center for drug overdose;

• Robert Weston Fisher, 38, 648 Cooter Hollow Rd., North Wilkesboro, PWSD meth;

• Jesse Virgil Shepherd, 25, 133 Josh St., Millers Creek, PWSD meth and maintaining place for controlled substance (meth);

• Jesse Martin Gonzalez, 28, 5228 Rock Creek Rd., Hays, PWSD meth and maintaining dwelling for controlled substance. Identified as a member of Bloods gang;

• Tamara Lakyn Wyatt, 24, 203 Timber Ridge Rd., Millers Creek, PWSD meth and maintaining vehicle for controlled substance;

• Kristina Kathryn Parsons, 33, 863 Moravian Falls Rd., Wilkesboro, maintaining vehicle for controlled substance;

• Lloyd Gene Spears II, 29, 360 Westgate Dr., Wilkesboro, two counts each of selling meth, PWSD meth and maintaining dwelling for controlled substance.

Other pill cases

Other pill cases include:

• Brandon Chase Michael, 22, 177 Timberwolf Dr., Moravian Falls, PWSD schedule IV pills. Dancy said 529 Xanax pills shipped from China were seized from Michael, lab testing may determine they are something else;

• Michael Alan Bauguess, 47, 501 J St., North Wilkesboro, selling schedule II pain pills and PWSD pain pills;

• Mason Langley, 29, 267 Carol Drive, Hays, PWSD schedule II pain pills, selling schedule II pain pills and maintaining place for controlled substance.

Other marijuana cases

Other marijuana cases include:

• Christopher Antonio-Nadre Scott, 27, U.S. 221, Sparta, PWSD marijuana and maintaining vehicle for controlled substance. Identified as being affiliated with a gang;

• Tyler Alexander Grimes, 29, 3529 Hwy. 18 S., Moravian Falls, possession of marijuana and maintaining vehicle for controlled substance;

• Benjamin Thomas Adair, 20, 3948 Vannoy Ridge Rd., Moravian Falls, PWSD marijuana and maintaining place for controlled substance;

• Mario Jamelle Guilford, 29, 139 Watering Trough Rd., Statesville, PWSD marijuana and resisting arrest;

• Michael Paul Duncan, 43, Mozelle Sherrill Dr., Denver, PWSD marijuana;

• Leslie Denise Smith, 40, 205 Paramount Dr., High Point, PWSD marijuana, maintaining vehicle for controlled substance and child abuse for having a 2-year-old child in car while engaged in drug activities.

Meth and pill cases

Other cases involving both meth and pills include:

• Bobby Ray Blackburn Jr., 33, and Whitney Michelle Blackburn, 19, both of 645 Mink Blackburn Rd., Roaring River, both PWSD cocaine and PWSD schedule III pain pills;

• Cheston Morrell Bumgarner, 40, 468 Bumgarner Lane, Millers Creek, PWSD schedule III pain pills and PWSD meth;

• Kayla Renee Steelman, 26, 1338 Mining Ridge Rd., Benham community, selling meth, PWSD meth, PWSD schedule III pain pills and two counts of child abuse in connection with two children under age 5 in car while engaged in drug activities;

• Brandon Clyde Moore, 31, 1098 Balls Mill Rd., North Wilkesboro, PWSD cocaine and PWSD schedule II pain pills.

Other cases

Other cases include:

• Adrian Christopher Hicks, 33, 294 Lovette Homes St., Millers Creek, PWSD cocaine and maintaining place for controlled substance;

• Jerry Thomas Martin, 57, 119 Hackett St., North Wilkesboro, PWSD cocaine and PWSD schedule IV pain pills;

• Joyce Allison Triplett, 59, 811 Montclair Circle, Lenoir, PWSD schedule IV pain pills, PWSD marijuana and PWSD schedule II pain pills. Charged in the same case are Jonathan Lee Jackson, 37, 146 Roberson Lane, Boomer, PWSD heroin; Sarah Elizabeth Slate, 41, Wilkesboro, PWSD meth and selling meth; and Kayla Amanda Coleman, 142 Hwy. 268, North Wilkesboro, possession meth.

Dancy said he wanted to thank Det. Tim Simms of the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office and the Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro police departments for their assistance.

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