Trip to beach ends early for 3 Virginia youths

TAR HEEL — Bladen County Sheriff Jim McVicker released details of a traffic stop on Saturday morning that lead to arrests for drug and alcohol possession.

“The traffic stop began Saturday at 11:30 when Trooper Ronnie Walker with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol stopped a 2006 Trailblazer for speeding 76 in a 55 mph speed zone on NC 87 near Tar Heel,” said McVicker. “Trooper Walker noticed the smell of marijuana on his approach to the vehicle. He asked for assistance and Sergeant Donnie Williamson with my office responded. A search of the vehicle disclosed drugs and alcohol and Agent Ron Hebert with North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement was also notified.”

McVicker said the vehicle was occupied by three young men who had just graduated from high school Friday night in Manassas, Va., and were on their way to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to celebrate their graduation with other friends with a week stay at the beach. The young men in the vehicle told officers that a group of 10 graduating seniors had planned the trip for a year and pooled their money to buy the alcohol and drugs.

Arrested were Michal Joan Berrios, 18; Lorenzo Dominic Cota, 18; and Cristhianna Ismael Ortez Flores, 18.

The men were charged with underage possession of a malt beverage; underage possession of fortified wine and liquor; illegal transport of alcoholic beverages; bringing alcoholic beverages into the state in excess of 4 gallons; transporting non tax paid alcoholic beverages; possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver marijuana and cocaine; felony possession of marijuana and cocaine; simple possession of a Schedule II and Schedule IV narcotics; and possession of Ddrug paraphernalia. Additionally, Berrios was charged with sSpeeding and Cota was charged with maintaining a vehicle to transport narcotics.

Officers seized 3.3 ounces of marijuana, 2.6 grams of cocaine, 18 liters of liquor, 50 liters of beer, drug paraphernalia and $3,600.00 in cash.

Berrios was placed under a $28,300 bond, Cota received a $43,000 bond and Ortez Flores was placed under a $27,000 bond. All three men had first appearance hearings Monday and were released on bond pending trial.

“I am pleased we have such a good working relationship with other state and local agencies,” said McVicker. “This is a good example of teamwork and commitment. I am sure no one expected a simple stop for speeding to turn out like this.”