Week in review

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Police dispatcher

suing town, officer

PEMBROKE — A federal lawsuit has been filed by a dispatcher with the Pembroke Police Department against the town of Pembroke and a police officer. The suit claims sexual harassment, sex and gender discrimination and retaliation at the workplace.

Nikala Locklear is seeking $25,000 in damages from both defendants. She alleges she was assaulted and emotionally distressed.

Locklear has been an employee of the Police Department since February 2014.


Student arrested for

child pornography

HOPE MILLS — A 17-year-old South View student was arrested and charged with possessing and distributing child pornography.

Evan C. Morales of Hope Mills was arrested this week at his home and charged with three counts each of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. The charges claim Morales distributed child pornography involving minors between the age of 8 and 15.

Morales’ bail was set at $60,000.


Drug bust nets

pair of arrests

WHITEVILLE — Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher announced recently that two men had been arrested and charged with drug crimes.

Hatcher said Blair Jay Whitham and Michael James Beneway are alleged to have been “the key players in an ongoing drug business that brought high-grade marijuana” to a home in Bolton. From there, he said the drugs were distributed throughout Columbus, Brunswick and New Hanover counties.

“This was the result of citizen complaints about drug activity,” Hatcher said.

Officers executed search warrants on properties in all three counties, seizing thousands of dollars in cash and drugs.


Flu outbreak is

causing concerns

CLINTON — A recent influx in the number of cases of the influenza virus has state and local health care agencies on high alert, prompting some facilities to take precautions.

According to a press release from Sampson Regional Medical Center, the hospital is now imposing visitation restrictions due to widespread influenza activity reported throughout North Carolina and in the local area.

Restrictions are expected to be in place until March 31, at which time hospital staff will reevaluate the number of cases and make a decision about extending the date.

From staff and wire reports.

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