Category: Public safety

July 22nd, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

The following New Bern-area residents were recently charged with animal cruelty by the Craven County Sheriff’s Office Animal Protective Services Division.

Melba Turner Jones, 49, of 510 Old Vanceboro Road, New Bern, is charged with felony kill animal by starvation.

Jones had three cats that she failed to provide appropriate food and water for causing their deaths.

Justin Broome, 27, of 402 Hart Drive, New Bern, is charged with cruelty to animals and abandonment of animals.

Broome left four pit bull terriers on his property with no access to food, water, or shelter.

Jebadia Jon Batchlor, 25, of 611 Johnson Street, New Bern, is charged with cruelty to animals.

Batchlor failed to provide appropriate food and water for a German Shepherd, pit bull, Pomeranian, and terrier, causing the animals to be underweight.

Sheriff Chip Hughes said, “There will be zero tolerance for animal cruelty in Craven County. We are aggressively going after folks like these individuals that think it’s OK to mistreat, abuse, and not care for their animals.”

Posted in Craven County, Crime, New Bern, Public safety

June 20th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

New Bern received a mediocre score for family friendliness in North Carolina from WalletHub, a website that produces data-driven articles ranking various subjects in various categories.

In ranking North Carolina cities for “2019’s Best Places to Raise a Family in North Carolina,” New Bern ranked 56th out of 87 cities. The top-ranked city was Cary, while coming in at 87th was Laurinburg.

In Eastern North Carolina, Havelock — you read that right — was the highest rated city in the survey, coming in at 35th. Other Eastern NC cities were Wilmington (44th), Greenville (53rd), Jacksonville (59th), Wilson (70th), Elizabeth City (75th), Tarboro (77th), Goldsboro (81st), and Kinston (84th).

Taking just Eastern North Carolina cities into account, then, New Bern ranked fourth, just behind Greenville and ahead of Jacksonville.

The rankings took into consideration 10 metrics, of which New Bern did better than average in just three: violent-crime rate per capita, unemployment rate, and playgrounds per capita.

New Bern ranked low in several categories, including percentage of families with children under age 17, median family income, and high school graduation rate. It rated near the bottom — 72nd — in housing affordability.

New Bern appears at the top of many lists, from Top Charming Small Towns to Top Small Retirement Towns, but these are typically niche categories. Raising a family is about as fundamental to a city’s purpose as you can get, and New Bern’s ranking, indeed rankings of all Eastern North Carolina cities, should raise some red flags and help policymakers in making decisions.

The data used in these rankings is entirely publicly available, and is the same information that companies look at when determining expansion and relocations.

True, New Bern is constantly looking for ways to up its game. But take one example, the planned Martin-Marietta Park. New Bern already ranks high for playgrounds per capita (24th in the state). Martin-Marietta Park won’t move the bar one iota in rankings such as these, even if it’s a park that is physically larger than most of Craven County’s smaller cities.

The focus should be where New Bern and Craven County are average or weak — median family income, quality of school system, high school graduation rate, poverty rate, and perhaps foremost, housing affordability.

Here are specific rankings for New Bern:

Raising a Family in New Bern (1=Best; 43=Avg.; 87=Worst)

  • 64th – % of Families with Children Aged 0 to 17
  • 57th – Median Family Income (adjusted for cost of living)
  • 49th – Quality of School System
  • 52nd – High School Graduation Rate
  • 34th – Violent-Crime Rate per Capita
  • 72nd – Housing Affordability
  • 48th – % of Families Living in Poverty
  • 31st – Unemployment Rate
  • 45th – Divorce Rate
  • 24th – Playgrounds per Capita

Full report here:

Source: WalletHub

 

Posted in Achievements, Commentary, Community, Community issues, Craven County, Craven County Schools, Crime, Economy, Economy and Employment, Education, Infrastructure, New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Opinion, Politics, Public safety, Retirement, State news, State politics

May 3rd, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

New Bern Police Department will be participating in training exercises in downtown New Bern on Saturday morning, May 4.

“We’d like to give residents and businesses a heads up to alleviate concern if/when they see police vehicles, equipment and our Special Response Team (SRT) downtown.

“We do not anticipate any residential, business or traffic impacts from these training exercises… These are training exercises only.”

Posted in New Bern, Public safety

February 21st, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Adult Enrichment Program (AEP) will host a symposium entitled “Stop the Cravin’!” in an effort to promote substance abuse education, prevention and intervention.

This free event will take place at Orringer Hall on the New Bern Campus from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14.

The event will feature a diverse panel of speakers from local health care providers, local and state law enforcement and community-based organizations. It will provide statistics for the area, health effects and the science behind the many aspects of addiction, case studies and firsthand accounts from those in the medical field. There will also be perspectives shared by former addicts, an emergency room charge nurse and local law enforcement.

Professional panelists include Kenneth W. Wilkins, Jr., MD, FACP, endoscopist and president of Coastal Carolina Health Care, PA; Matt Knight of the NC Task Force for Safe Schools and NC Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) branch; Henry D. Beckwith, PsyD, a licensed psychologist; and Nadine Williamson, a certified substance abuse counselor.

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to: participate in a Q&A, learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of opioid and related substance abuse issues, how to intervene and prevent future addictions. Equipping people with knowledge so they know what to do in such situations can ensure that loved ones don’t become just another statistic.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the substance abuse epidemic that is steadily increasing and affecting our community and communities throughout the country, and in turn aid in the prevention of their use,” said Megan Johnson, AEP coordinator. “It is our hope that this symposium will be of great benefit to those who have been touched by this crisis and who are impacted in their daily personal and professional lives.”

Preregistration is not required and CEUs are available for eligible professionals. Doors open at 7:45 a.m.

This event is sponsored by Craven Community College, the CCHC Foundation, the Harold H. Bate Foundation, ABC of Craven County, Coastal Coalition and Trillium Health Resources.

For more information, contact Johnson at 252-638-7273 or johnsonm@cravencc.edu.

Posted in Community, Community issues, Craven Community College, Health, New Bern, Public safety

December 17th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

News Release — United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that over the course of the last week in federal court, before Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle, multiple defendants have been sentenced in a large-scale heroin and marijuana trafficking organization.

The investigation was part of OCDETF Operation 190, which was named in memory of New Bern Police Department Officer Alexander Thalmann.  Officer Thalmann was shot and killed in the line of duty in March of 2014 by associates of the defendants in this case.

An Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

The defendants’ convictions and sentencings were the culmination of a multi-year investigation into a heroin trafficking ring operating in and around New Bern, North Carolina, and led primarily by two men: DAMIEN LAMONTE BROWN and CALVIN MARK WILSON.  Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and members of the New Bern Police Department learned that BROWN, WILSON, and others had been involved in ordering heroin from New York City and arranging it to be brought down in multi-kilogram amounts over a period of several years.  BROWN and WILSON then supplied various mid and lower-level dealers in and around New Bern with the heroin for sale.

As part of the investigation, law enforcement conducted over twenty controlled purchases of heroin from organization members between November 2016 and July 2017, along with traffic stops and other encounters in which they confirmed that members possessed drugs and guns.  Based on that investigation, ATF then obtained authorization for a federal wiretap of cellular phones associated with WILSON and two co-defendants.   As a result, agents intercepted calls and texts over a three-month period in late 2017 showing that WILSON was directing the supply and distribution of kilogram-levels of heroin from New York to New Bern, NC.  Based on intercepted calls, agents were able to stop and arrest WILSON and two co-defendants traveling back from New York with 3lbs of marijuana and 7 bars of heroin cutting agent.

ATF made arrests of many of the defendants on October 24, 2017, along with searches of five residences associated with the organization.  Through the life of the investigation, law enforcement has seized over a kilogram of heroin and twenty firearms.

The defendants include:

• DAMIEN LAMONTE BROWN, aka “Dame,” 36, of New Bern, NC.  BROWN was convicted in August 2018 by a federal jury of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin, possession with intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin, and possession of a firearm by felon.  BROWN was sentenced to 360 months’ imprisonment.

• DERRICK LAMONT DAVIS, aka “Gucci,” 35, of Kinston, NC.  DAVIS was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin.  DAVIS was sentenced to 48 months’ imprisonment.

• DWAYNE LEE STALLINGS, aka “Smiley,” 35, of Cove City, NC.  STALLINGS was convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon and was sentenced to 108 months’ imprisonment.

• NASSAR TURE MACK, 37, of New Bern, NC.  MACK was convicted of possession of a firearm by felon and was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment.

• MARIO CORRELLUS BARGNEARE, aka “Rio,” 39, of New Bern, NC.  BARGNEARE was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  BARGNEARE was sentenced to 204 months’ imprisonment.

• DEREK JACQUAN WIGGINS, aka “DJ,” 38, of New Bern, NC.  WIGGINS was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, several counts of distributing heroin, and possession of a firearm by a felon.  He was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment.

• ROY JAMES NOLON, aka “Henny,” 21, of New Bern, NC.  NOLON was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  He was sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment.

• MICHAEL QUALEEK VELASQUEZ, aka “Moo Moo,” 23, of New Bern, NC.  VELASQUEZ was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  He was sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment.

• LAMAR HOSEA WIGGINS, aka “LB,” 39, of New Bern, NC.  WIGGINS was convicted of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession of a firearm by a felon.  He was sentenced to 96 months’ imprisonment.

• LASHAWNNA JAQUETTE MCCOTTER, aka “Flossy,” 47, of New Bern, NC.  McCOTTER was convicted of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana.  She was sentenced to 30 months’  imprisonment.

• LATREKA DENISE HARDESTY, aka “T,” 27, of New Bern, NC.  HARDESTY was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She was sentenced to time served.

• ADRIENNE MICHELLE HALL, 35, of New Bern, NC.  HALL was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She was sentenced to time served.

• CAROLINE LOUISE HUGHES, 28, of Alliance, NC.  HUGHES was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She was sentenced to 5 years probation.

Three defendants are scheduled to be sentenced over the course of the next few months.  They are:

• CALVIN MARK WILSON, aka “Bali,” 34, of New Bern, NC.  WILSON was convicted of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one thousand grams or more of heroin and a quantity of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana.  WILSON faces a sentence of not less than 20 years’ imprisonment.

• WILLIE FRANK JAMES AHERN, aka “White, White Bread, Dribs,” 39, of Bayboro, NC.  AHERN was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and several instances of distributing quantities of heroin.  AHERN faces up to life imprisonment.

• WALTER NAJEE GREEN, III, 21, of New Bern, NC.  GREEN was convicted of distribution of a quantity of heroin and faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment.

The investigation also led to 8 individuals being charged by the state for drug offenses.  Those charges remain pending.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), New Bern Police Department, Jacksonville Police Department, Craven County Sheriff’s Office, Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Trent Woods Police Department, Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, Morehead City Police Department, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, and with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Assistant United States Attorney Laura S. Howard prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Posted in Crime, New Bern, Public safety

November 30th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

DOJ News Release: United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that yesterday in federal court, before Chief United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle CALVIN MARK WILSON, 34, of New Bern, North Carolina pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one thousand (1,000) grams or more of heroin and a quantity of marijuana.

During the defendant’s guilty plea hearing, the Government summarized the evidence supporting the defendant’s guilty plea.  After a multi-year investigation by the New Bern Police Department into a heroin trafficking ring operating in and around New Bern, NC, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) obtained authorization for a federal wiretap of cellular phones associated with WILSON and two co-defendants.  As a result, agents intercepted calls and texts over a three-month period in 2017 showing that WILSON was directing the supply and distribution of kilogram-levels of heroin from New York to New Bern, NC.  Based on intercepted calls, agents were able to stop and arrest WILSON and two co-defendants traveling back from New York with 3lbs of marijuana and 7 bars of heroin cutting agent.  Calls intercepted after that arrest indicated that WILSON had lost as much as $30,000 on that day alone based on law enforcement’s actions.  Later, after WILSON was arrested on his federal charges in October 2017, investigators searched his cell phone, which revealed additional evidence of WILSON arranging for the resupply of hundreds of grams of heroin at a time from his New York sources of supply and then distributing that heroin to street level dealers in New Bern.

At sentencing, the defendant faces not less than 20 years’ imprisonment and up to $10,000,000 in fines.

WILSON’s conviction was the culmination of a multi-year investigation into a heroin trafficking ring operating in and around New Bern, North Carolina, that has resulted in the federal convictions of 16 defendants for drug and gun charges.

The defendants include:

• DWAYNE LEE STALLINGS, aka “Smiley,” 35, of Cove City, NC.  STALLINGS was convicted of possession of a firearm by a felon and was sentenced to 108 months’ imprisonment.

• NASSAR TURE MACK, 37, of New Bern, NC.  MACK was convicted of possession of a firearm by felon and was sentenced to 24 months’ imprisonment.

• DAMIEN LAMONTE BROWN, aka “Dame,” 36, of New Bern, NC.  BROWN was convicted in August 2018 by a federal jury of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin, possession with intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin, and possession of a firearm by felon.  BROWN faces not less than 10 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment.

• DERRICK LAMONT DAVIS, aka “Gucci,” 35, of Kinston, NC.  DAVIS was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin.  DAVIS faces not less than 5 years’ imprisonment and up to 40 years’ imprisonment.

• WALTER NAJEE GREEN, III, 21, of New Bern, NC.  GREEN was convicted of distribution of a quantity of heroin and faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment.

• MARIO CORRELLUS BARGNEARE, aka “Rio,” 39, of New Bern, NC.  BARGNEARE was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute one hundred (100) grams or more of heroin and discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  BARGNEARE faces not less than 15 years’ imprisonment and up to life imprisonment.

• WILLIE FRANK JAMES AHERN, aka “White, White Bread, Dribs,” 39, of Bayboro, NC.  AHERN was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and several instances of distributing quantities of heroin.  AHERN faces up to life imprisonment.

• DEREK JACQUAN WIGGINS, aka “DJ,” 38, of New Bern, NC.  WIGGINS was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin, several counts of distributing heroin, and possession of a firearm by a felon.  He faces up to life imprisonment.

• ROY JAMES NOLON, aka “Henny,” 21, of New Bern, NC.  NOLON was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  He faces not less than 5 years’ imprisonment.

• MICHAEL QUALEEK VELASQUEZ, aka “Moo Moo,” 23, of New Bern, NC.  VELASQUEZ was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  He faces up to life imprisonment.

• LAMAR HOSEA WIGGINS, aka “LB,” 39, of New Bern, NC.  WIGGINS was convicted of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession of a firearm by a felon.  He faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment.

• LASHAWNNA JAQUETTE MCCOTTER, aka “Flossy,” 47, of New Bern, NC.  McCOTTER was convicted of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin and possession with intent to distribute a quantity of marijuana.  She faces up to 25 years’ imprisonment.

• LATREKA DENISE HARDESTY, aka “T,” 27, of New Bern, NC.  HARDESTY was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

• ADRIENNE MICHELLE HALL, 35, of New Bern, NC.  HALL was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

• CAROLINE LOUISE HUGHES, 28, of Alliance, NC.  HUGHES was convicted of conspiring to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of heroin.  She faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

The investigation also led to 8 individuals being charged by the state for drug offenses.  Those charges remain pending.

The investigation was part of OCDETF Operation 190.  This is part of an extensive investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).  OCDETF is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), New Bern Police Department, Jacksonville Police Department, Craven County Sheriff’s Office, Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Trent Woods Police Department, Carteret County Sheriff’s Office, Morehead City Police Department, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, and with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Assistant United States Attorney Laura S. Howard prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Posted in New Bern, Public safety

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