Two separate busts in Mount Airy this week, including one Thursday, resulted in the seizure of a wide variety of drugs and the felony arrests of three women who were being held Friday under large bonds.
The substances involved collectively represent virtually every drug targeted by law enforcement in recent times: methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, controlled prescription pills and marijuana. Money and a handgun also were seized during searches leading to the arrests, according to city police.
Among those charged is Hope Rene Davis, 51, of 100 W. Virginia St., where a search warrant was executed Thursday morning by detectives with the Mount Airy Police Department, the Surry County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Division and the State Bureau of Investigation.
Those three agencies are involved in a combined investigative effort focusing on illegal drug activity locally, which is ongoing.
Thursday’s search resulted in the seizure of a handgun, about 6 grams of cocaine and around 4 grams of marijuana.
Davis is accused of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; possession of cocaine with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver; possession of marijuana with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver; felony maintaining of a drug dwelling; and possession of drug paraphernalia.
She remained in the Surry County Jail Friday under a $25,000 secured bond, with her appearance in District Court scheduled for Oct. 31.
In April, Davis was arrested on charges after an incident at Walmart. She was charged with larceny, possession of stolen goods and possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (oxycodone). The case stemmed from her alleged theft of kitchen equipment, identified as a stand mixer valued at $189 for which restitution is owed.
Davis was convicted of a long list of crimes in 2004 and received a suspended sentence, which was activated in 2009, causing her to spend a year in jail. Among the many offenses were five counts of financial card fraud, credit card theft, three counts of obtaining property by false pretense, forgery, six counts of “cheat — property/services” and possession of Schedule II and VI drugs.
Monday night arrests
Earlier in the week, two women residing at 518 Junction St. were arrested and held under large bonds after city, county and SBI law enforcement personnel converged.
A search warrant was executed about 10:30 p.m. Monday.
That search turned up 21 grams of heroin, 13 grams of meth, several controlled prescription pills and $2,620 in U.S. currency.
Misty Dawn Oakley, 33, and Erika Kansas Allen, 25, are each charged with trafficking in heroin; possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (meth) with intent to manufacture, sell or deliver; felony maintaining of a drug dwelling; possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (hydromorphone); possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance (diazepam); and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Oakley was being held in the county jail Friday under a $175,000 secured bond and Allen a $110,000 secured bond. They are scheduled to be in Surry District Court on Oct. 24.
The same week in April that Davis was accused of stealing a Walmart kitchen mixer, Oakley and Allen each were charged with attempted larceny at Walmart. According to the court docket, Oakley and Allen each have a court appearance for that misdemeanor charge on Sept. 5.
In July 2010 Oakley was convicted of three counts of trafficking a Schedule I drug, two counts of possession with intent to sell a Schedule II drug, one count of possession with intent to sell a Schedule IV drug, deliver/sell a Schedule II drug, and maintaining a drug dwelling/vehicle. She served in prison until July 2016.
Prior to that, she was convicted in August 2008 of possession of Schedule IV and VI drugs and given suspended sentences.
Not more prevalent
Newspaper headlines have been dominated recently by a number of narcotics-related arrests in Mount Airy and Surry County.
Capt. Alan Freeman of the Mount Airy Police Department said Friday that this does not indicate an escalation in the drug problem compared to years past — although the recent activity might suggest otherwise.
“I don’t know that we’re seeing anything greater than what it’s always been,” said the veteran officer. “It’s always been there.”
Yet one trend of late was called “alarming” by Freeman.
“We’ve seen more heroin hit the streets — which is not good,” he said of the dangerous drug.
Heroin peaked in the mid-1970s and then subsided in the decades afterward, but its use is now said to be growing faster than any other drug being abused.
Freeman says one reason for this is a shift from opioids — which have been the subject of crackdowns by state and federal agencies on so-called pill mills and doctors who overly prescribe those drugs. This has addicts increasingly relying on heroin, which produces euphoric highs similar to what one experiences from pain pills.
And heroin is cheaper, Freeman said.
While he says drug activity is not more prevalent nowadays than previously, it is just as entrenched as ever.
“I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of it,” Freeman said.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.